MANILA — Suspected Communist rebels killed two U.S. military men, a retired serviceman and a Filipino within 15 minutes today near the U.S. Clark Air Base in evidently coordinated attacks.
Police said the attacks were conducted by teams of two to four young men armed with .45-caliber pistols. Officials said they did not know who was doing the shooting or why, but the style of the killings was typical of Communist "Sparrow" hit squads suspected in the recent deaths of five security officers in Manila.
If confirmed, it would be the first attack on Americans by the Sparrows, who normally work in teams of three and are noted for their ruthless calm and efficiency.
Maj. Gen. Donald Snyder, commander of the 13th Air Force, appeared on armed forces television after the shootings to advise viewers that "the situation is not under control," announce stepped-up security measures and order U.S. personnel to avoid leaving the sprawling base 50 miles north of Manila.
Warning to Servicemen
Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Robert Prucha said American servicemen had been warned to "stay out of uniform when you are traveling (and) don't go directly to (off-base) quarters from the base."
Filipino police identified the victims as Air Force Sgts. Randy Davis, 30, and Steven Faust; retired Sgt. Herculano Manganti, 60, a Filipino with American citizenship, and Filipino businessman Joseph Porter.
National Police officers said Davis was gunned down by three men at a bus stop near a McDonald's restaurant half a mile outside the base's main gate.
His assailants, all in their early 30s, casually walked away from the scene and escaped in a car.
Ambushed by 4 Men
Faust was ambushed by four men of similar ages as he drove near the mainly American Carmenville subdivision about two miles from the base. Porter was killed when he stopped to help Faust, police said.
Manganti was shot at close range by four young men as he was walking near the Villa Modesto Hotel in the Hensonville subdivision about three miles from the base, police said.
In a final incident, Capt. Raymond Pulsifer was ambushed while driving about two miles from the base by two young men whose bullets shattered his windshield but failed to kill him. Police said Pulsifer was wounded but U.S. Air Force officials said he escaped injury.