Two assailants on motorcycles shot Loreto and another journalist, Richard Kho, in front of a convenience store at around 11 p.m. in the Quezon City neighborhood of Manila, according to news reports. Authorities said the journalists died from multiple gunshot wounds and that police recovered several .45 caliber and 9-millimeter shells from the scene, the reports said.
Both reporters were columnists for the Aksyon Ngayon (Action Now), a weekly tabloid newspaper that had published only one issue a few weeks before the attack. The publication focuses on local community issues, including corruption.
Ray Moreno, a friend of the journalists who was with them at the time of the attack, told local journalists that the assailants opened fire on them at close range and that he was able to survive the attack by pretending he was dead, the reports said.
Soon after the killing, Loreto's family members told Committer for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a local journalists support group, that they could not think of any other motive for the attack other than his column for the paper. Police said they were unable to establish a motive or determine if the men were killed because of their work as journalists.
Police said filed murder charges against two men who were identified by witnesses, according to the Committer for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a local journalists support group. The two men remain at large.