Police, Army hunt 2 men in killing of American trader

By Edwin Fernandez

October 30, 2017, 7:25 pm

KIDAPAWAN CITY –- Police, backed by the Army, in North Cotabato have launched a massive manhunt against two men who robbed and killed an American trader in Pikit, North Cotabato on Sunday.

Supt. Bernard Tayong, speaking for the North Cotabato police office, said pursuit operations are still on going against the suspects behind the murder of American trader Jeff Michael Keith, 60, in Barangay Poblacion, Pikit, on Sunday afternoon.

Tayong said the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion has been helping the Pikit police in hunting down the two suspects riding on motorbike after they shot dead Keith at around 2:50 p.m.

Keith was the second foreign trader killed in Pikit for the past week after a Pakistani merchant was also shot dead and robbed.

Police probers are zeroing in on robbery as the motive behind the killing as the suspects fled with the victim’s cash, checks and other valuables.

Keith was with his wife Melodina, 45, and two children on board an Isuzu elf delivery truck (NGI-639) going to Pikit from Cagayan de Oro City when the shooting occurred, according to Chief Inspector Romy Castañares, Pikit town police chief.

Castañares said the delivery truck, driven by Keith, stopped in front of Khagi Saimah store for business transaction when two men armed with cal. 45 pistols showed up and fired at the unwary American businessman.

As Keith fell, the suspects took his sling bag that contained about Php200, 000 cash, checks and other valuables and fled on a motorbike.

His wife and children who were unharmed rushed him to the hospital.

Responding cops recovered from the scene several empty shells from .45-caliber pistols.

On Tuesday last week, gunmen on motorbike also shot dead Pakistani trader Estesham Ulhaq, 40, in Barangay Dalengaoen, Pikit, North Cotabato and took his cash and valuables.

One of the suspects injured in a police chase that ensued was later arrested in a hospital in Cotabato City, Tayong said. (PNA)