A gunman entered Sy's home in southern General Santos City and shot him twice in front of his wife and daughter, according to news reports. The reports said the assailant fled the scene on foot. Sy died at a local hospital before receiving medical treatment. Local media reported that investigators recovered two shell casings from a .45-caliber handgun in the house.
Sy, 53, a freelance photographer, regularly contributed to the local Sapol News Bulletin newspaper, among other outlets. John Paul Jubelag, the paper's publisher, said Sy may have been murdered in connection to his contribution to a photo report in January or February on local drug trafficking, but did not offer further details, according to a statement by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a Manila-based press freedom advocacy group. News accounts did not report any threats against Sy prior to the attack. But Sy's colleagues and family members believe he was killed because of his "vocal stance" against the illegal drug trade in his area, Tempo reported.
On October 24, authorities from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Regional Special Investigation and Detection Team arrested Jerry Intoman as the suspected gunman in the killing, news reports said. The gunman was linked to the illegal drug trade, the reports said.