Barangay Old Balara in Quezon City, Philippines. Photo: Google Maps

Two men were shot dead by police in Quezon City after apparently trying to steal a car while the driver was still inside. Police said they were gunned down when they opened fire on patrolling officers.

The unidentified men pulled alongside the parked car on a motorcycle in Barangay Old Balara at 12am on Tuesday and began smashing the rear window with a hammer, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

They were challenged by a police officer, Rino Agader, who had witnessed the incident. One of the thieves pulled out a gun and fired at Agader, missing him, and the motorcyclists rode off, but only got as far as a nearby security patrol that had been alerted by the policeman.

The two men reportedly opened fire on pursuing police and were both shot dead. Police recovered two .38 caliber revolvers, a hammer, an unregistered blue motorcycle and seven packets of suspected methamphetamine from the slain suspects. They are checking whether the men belonged to a notorious gang of car thieves.