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Infant shot dead by forest ranger

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

A Bantay Bukid member deputized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to help preserve the Northern Negros Natural Park is now in hot water after his gun reportedly went off, resulting in the death of a minor on December 5 in Sitio Aluyan, Brgy. Caduha-an, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.

The suspect identified as Nomar Ayan Berto, a forest ranger, faces reckless imprudence resulting to homicide, according to the police.

The one-year-old victim, who succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head, was declared dead on arrival at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Hospital in Bacolod City, after being accorded initial treatment at the Dr. Ramon Gustilo Hospital in Manapla, police said.

The minor was reported to have been playing inside their house when she was hit in the head, initial police investigations showed.

While the suspect surrendered to the police on December 7, the firearm has not been recovered as of this time.

Mayor Salvador Escalante said he has already coordinated with the City Social Welfare and Development to extend assistance to the family of the victim.

Escalante said that Bantay Bukid members are not allowed to carry firearms while performing their mandated tasks.

Based on investigations conducted by the Cadiz police, Escalante said that the suspect and other forest rangers were having a drinking spree prior to the incident.*

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