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Filipino lawyer dies hours after random shooting in Philadelphia

John Albert Laylo. STORY: Filipino lawyer dies hours after random shooting in Philadelphia

John Albert Laylo (Photo from his Facebook page)

MANILA, Philippines — A 35-year-old Filipino lawyer, John Albert “Jal” Laylo, who had been shot in the head while traveling in an Uber car with his mother in Philadelphia to visit relatives in the United States died on Sunday, hours after being confined in critical condition in a local hospital.

His mother, Leah Bustamante Laylo, sustained minor wounds from glass that shattered when the assailant or assailants fired six shots through a window — one of the bullets hitting Laylo in the head.

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Jal Laylo died at 10:33 a.m. EST on Sunday (10:33 p.m. PHT Sunday), his mother said in a Facebook post, which she said took her hours before she could bring herself to make.

“I thank God for the 35 years of his life. I’m beyond grateful for having a good, smart, generous, loving, caring son these are the adjectives I can think of now. I’m lost of words!” Mrs. Laylo said in her Facebook post, which includes several photographs of her with her son in the US.

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The random shooting happened 4:00 a.m. EST Saturday (4:00 p.m. PST Saturday).

“Based on information gathered by the Consulate, the victim and his mother, who were visiting relatives in Philadelphia, were on their way to the airport at around 4 a.m. to catch a flight to Chicago when shots were fired at Uber car they were riding in,” Elmer Cato, the consul general of the Philippines in New York said in a message to INQUIRER.net

He said that incoming Secretary of Migrant Workers Susan Ople alerted the consulate of the incident.

Cato arrived at the hospital in Philadelphia at around noon on Sunday, along with leaders of the Filipino community, “to assure the mother that we are there for them.”

Earlier, the consulate got some information that the lawyer had died — which turned out to be wrong. Cato later tweeted new information later that Laylo was still alive, though in critical condition under a life support system.

The mother herself posted the following update on her Facebook timeline, giving her location as the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

“For the past weeks been posting a lot of happenings here in US a very well deserved vacation! But yesterday morning at 4:06am something happened! We are the victim of random shooting here in Philadelphia! My son Jal Laylo was badly hit in his head! I got 3 shrapnel wounds, I’m okay and holding on. Just want to make clear my son is still ALIVE & hanging on!!! What ever news you heard or read it’s all false!!!! Just wait for my post! Ako ang tunay na nakaka alam ng lahat!!!
Let’s storm heaven with prayers! Nothing is impossible with God! Claiming miracles to happen!
Thank you to all those who prayed for him and will continually pray for him!
Thank you for understanding”

In his earlier message to INQUIRER.net, Cato gave some more details about the shooting: “Victim was hit in the head by one of six bullets fired by suspect/suspects and was taken to a local hospital where he was declared in critical condition. The mother sustained minor wounds from shattered glass from the car window. A few minutes ago, we have been informed that the victim has passed away.” 

As already mentioned, the information on the lawyer’s death was incorrect at the time the message was sent.

Quest for justice

Cato said that they are in coordination with police authorities in Philadelphia who informed them that an investigation of the incident is underway and no arrests have been made so far.

“We call on authorities in Philadelphia to do what is necessary to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice,” said Cato.

The Philippine Consulate General in New York expressed its “profound sadness over the passing of our kababayan in this tragic incident in Philadelphia,” calling on the Filipino community to pray for the “eternal repose of his soul.”

Cato assured that the Department of Foreign Affairs will extend necessary assistance to the lawyers’s family.

Former member of De Lima’s staff

In a Facebook post, Sen. Leila de Lima called for justice for Laylo, saying that he was a former member of her staff.

“I was informed about the random shooting in Philadelphia where my former staff, Atty. Jal Laylo, was shot in the head and is now in critical condition. His mother was also injured,” De Lima said.

“I ask for prayers for Jal’s healing and recovery. Let us also call for justice for this brutal and senseless act,” she added.

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