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Bloodbath in Guarda: two dead, including one GNR agent

SIGHTING IN MONTALEGRE, WEDNESDAY LATE PM:

After a tense day in which hundreds of police have converged on São Pedro do Sul, CMTV reports that two women called in a sighting of Pedro Dias 200 kms away, at a petrol station in Montalegre.

The sighting has not been ‘verified’ by authorities, and locals in the area doubt Dias could have got so far from the area in which police thought they had him ‘run to ground’.

According to CMTV, Dias was seen around 10am this morning, fuelling up a white Ford Fiesta with €15 worth of petrol.

The ‘eye-witnesses’ have told police that he was accompanied by a second man in the car.

The pair paid for the petrol and continued on towards Chaves, said the women, who apparently told the attendant at the petrol station of their concerns.

This is all technically ‘very old news’. If Dias really had made it to Montalegre by 10am this morning, by now, he could easily have crossed over the border to Spain – from any point, not just from nearby Chaves.

CMTV reports that police have set up search parties in the Montalegre area, principally to try and verify the eye-witnesses’ account.

Throughout the day, CMTV particularly has been broadcasting from the search site near Candal, in São Pedro do Sul, and stressing that Dias is something of a Rambo in character, militarily-trained and equipped to survive days in the wild.

THIS IS HOW THE STORY BEGAN, EARLY TUESDAY MORNING:

A police manhunt is underway following a bloodbath in Aguiar da Beira, Guarda, in which one GNR agent has died, another has been seriously injured and a couple of purported bystanders have also been shot, the man fatally.

With the man’s female companion understood to be in a “serious condition” in hospital, the dead GNR agent has been named as Carlos Caetano.

He is understood to have been 29 years old.

His partner, aged 41, is undergoing surgery right now, with a bullet described as being lodged between his shoulder and face.

The incident began with a call to police in the early hours of this (Tuesday) morning in Termas de Cavaca.

According to reports, two agents were alerted to a robbery which they effectively foiled by arriving as it was still underway.

The suspects involved – at least one of which is known to police – immediately opened fire, shooting both policemen on the spot and making off in the agents’ patrol car.

Details are still coming through as authorities throughout the district are now on major manhunt alert, mounting roadblocks and trying to ensure the suspects do not flee across the border close by to Spain.

NEW INFORMATION, TUESDAY AM:

New information coming in suggests the suspects bundled the surviving GNR man into the back of the patrol car, before making off to a spot around 5km away, in scrubland.

It is there that the purported bystanders were subsequently found, also shot. The man fatally, the woman “seriously injured”.

The injured policeman appears to have been left at this spot, in the patrol car, while the suspects made off, one on foot and the other in the car belonging to the couple.

Spanish police are also involved, heading up their own roadblocks and vigilance.

UPDATE TUESDAY 3.30pm:

Third GNR agent shot, in both legs, by one of the suspects still on the run.

Hundreds of police are now involved in this manhunt which has moved into the area of São Pedro do Sul (Viseu).

One of the suspects is believed to be using a sawn-off shotgun, and is described as “extremely dangerous”.

Locals in the area are being warned to stay indoors, not approach anyone acting suspiciously.

Police have issued a photograph of one of the suspects, Arouca resident and former emigré to South Africa, Pedro Pinho Dias, 44. Dias is described as an airline pilot with military training.

Helicopters are now also involved in the manhunt.

The injured policeman has been transported to hospital, in a serious but stable condition.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8am:

Fugitive still on the run despite police mobilisation on a massive scale.

It now appears that the woman taken to hospital is “brain dead” (CMTV). Liliane and Luís (the first names of the couple shot in this incident) were apparently on their way to an appointment for fertility treatment. They had been married for three years, say reports, and were desperate to start a family.

SIGHTING IN MONTALEGRE: REPORTED WEDNESDAY 5PM (see above)

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com