A police officer was shot dead in the southern province of Dong Nai Tuesday (July 19) as his team pursued two suspected thieves who had allegedly killed two people in robberies since May.
One member of the duo was arrested and the other was shot dead.
On Tuesday afternoon, Le Thanh Tam, a 25-year-old cadet with the Cam My District Police, was part of a six-officer team pursuing two men on a motorbike following tip-offs from local residents that they had just injured a motorist and stolen his bike.
According to local police, the two alleged thieves were previously signaled to stop by a traffic police team in Xuan Duong Commune at around 4 p.m.
One of the duo pulled a handgun and shot and injured one of the officers before driving away.
When the pair's bike broke down, they shot at a local motorist in the head and stole his bike. The head injury was not final.
With police on their tail, the duo Tran Quoc Tuan, 25, and Bui Van Trung, 22 gave up the bike at an intersection and split up on foot.
Tuan rushed into nearby fields and robbed a farmer's motorbike at gunpoint.
Tuan was just about to drive away when Tam and other officers showed up. Tam held Tuan in an attempt to wrestle the robber down to the ground.
During the struggle, Tuan shot Tam in the right side of his chest at point-blank range.
Tam died on the spot. Tuan, with the gun still in his hand, jumped on the bike and fled.
The farmer and his relative Nguyen Van Thanh then drove another bike to chase the thief.
During the chase, Tuan hit a tree and fell to the ground. When the two farmers approached him, he fired two shots at them, one of which struck Thanh in the head, but he survived.
Backup arrived and police chased Tuan until he hid in a cashew garden. They called for him to give up but he repeatedly fired his weapon at his pursuers.
A police officer shot Tuan in the leg to stop him, but he hobbled quickly across a dike and pointed his gun at the police once again, just before the officers shot him dead.
Meanwhile, Trung had hid under a manhole.
He was arrested at around 6:40 p.m. after the police uncovered all manholes in the area and used a hound dog to sniff him out.
After his arrest, Trung confessed that he and Tuan had committed at least two fatal robberies prior to the July 19 attack.
On the evening of July 9, Trung, Tuan and two other robbers named Vung and Manh, shot dead a local Dong Nai motorist to steal his luxury bike.
When police caught up with Vung and Manh, Vung stabbed two officers, seriously wounding both. But as other officers overpowered him, he tried to cut his wrists. He was, however, apprehended before he could commit the act.
Manh successfully fled the scene. Vung is under treatment at a local hospital.
Trung told the police he and Tuan also committed another fatal robbery on May 29 in Buon Ma Thuot, a city in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.
The duo asked Nguyen Huu Dung, local Buon Ma Thuot resident, to sell them a gun at VND5 million (US$250).
When Dung did not deliver the gun on the appointed day, the duo stabbed him 20 times and made off with his luxury bike as he died.
Dak Lak Province Police Department issued wanted warrant against the duo soon afterwards.
Trung will be detained for four months pending further investigation, Dong Nai police said.