Jan. 4, 2011 — -- A photo taken by Filipino politician Reynaldo Dagsa captures his killer – seconds before Dagsa was shot dead.
The 35-year-old councilman from the Manila suburb of Caloocan City was taking pictures of his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law on New Year's Day when suspected gunman Michael Gonzalez stepped out from behind a car and shot Dagsa in the chest.
Police arrested Gonzalez as soon as the family showed them the final photograph taken by Dagsa. Two suspected accomplices, one of whom was pictured in the background of the photo, are also behind bars while two others remain at large.
"While he was taking the picture of his family on New Year's Day, the killer appeared and inadvertently he took the picture of the killer with the gun aimed at him," police chief Jude Santos told the AFP news agency.
The photo shows a man in a baseball hat aiming his weapon at Dagsa. In another corner of the photograph is a man police identified as the assassin's lookout.
Dagsa's wife and daughter, speaking to reporters at their home, said Dagsa had asked them to wake him up before the stroke of midnight so he could join in the usually noisy New Year's street revelry that comes with lots of firecrackers.
The family members said they did not hear a gunshot because the firecrackers were exploding all around them. They only saw Dagsa falling to the ground after he was hit.
They said they rushed him to the hospital but it was too late.
The men may have been looking for revenge. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports Dagsa ordered their arrest last year for car theft and the suspects were out on bail. Caloocan Police Intelligence Chief Crescencio Galvez told the Inquirer that all three men were known criminals and Gonzalez went by the alias Fubo of Fish Pond Area 1.
Dagsa's death is the latest in a string of violent shootings that have plagued the Philippines, where cheap firearms are easily available on the legal and black markets.
Dead Man's Final Photo Captures Killer in the Act
The Inquirer reports Dagsa was a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, a group that aggressively sought to reduce crime in the region. Dagsa also worked to manage disaster and emergencies more efficiently. Galvez described him as "hardworking" while Santos said Dagsa was "very active" in maintaining peace, according to the Inquirer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report