MANILA, Philippines – An eyewitness has identified a new suspect in the stray bullet shooting of 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella on New Year’s Eve, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Wednesday.
De Lima said that based on the eyewitness account, the new suspect “fired several shots and based on the trajectory, he could be the shooter.”
“This is completely new. We have a name but we cannot disclose it yet,” she said.
“He is a resident of the area. He is known in the area and we are thinking of getting the cooperation of the barangay officials here in terms of locating him,” she added.
The justice chief said the suspect is not among the 4 people who had surrendered to police and said they fired their guns on New Year’s Eve.
She said the eyewitness said the suspect fired his gun 40-50 meters away from Nicole before she was hit by the stray bullet.
De Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation has conducted a re-autopsy of Nicole’s body to re-examine the bullet holes on her skull.
The justice chief said authorities are also searching for the gun used in the shooting.
“Mas maganda, mas di mahihirapan ang prosecution kung makuha natin yung baril,” she added.