Four dead in murder, suicide gun rampage

By Samantha Alleyne,
Oscar P. Clarke and
Jeune Bailey Van-Keric
Stabroek News
February 2, 2000

A wedding feast day ended in tragedy on Monday night when a jealous husband went berserk, attempted to kill his wife and in the process shot three of his in-laws to death, before taking his own life.

At about 2345 hrs on Monday, 43-year-old Yagroop Persaud called 'Squaddy' of 96 'D' Bush Lot shot and killed, Jailall Ajodah, 40, Praboutie Ajodah, 35, who was his wife's sister and Daneswar Bajnauth, 42, before turning the gun on himself. He had attempted to kill his wife, Ashmattie Persaud called 'Usha', 34, but she escaped death and is now nursing bullet wounds to the chest and arm at a city hospital. In the process of executing his deadly rampage, Persaud also injured 19-year-old Brian Kissoon and 13-year-old Melissa Bajnauth.

The weapon used in the deadly assault at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice according to a police press release, was a Remmington 12-gauge, single barrel shotgun, which it was said, had the capacity to carry up to five cartridges in the holding chamber. The police have recovered the shotgun along with 18 live 12-gauge cartridges and four spent ones. The murderer was a licensed firearm holder, the police said.

When Stabroek News arrived on the scene yesterday police ranks were still in the neighbourhood trying to ascertain facts that would help them solve the gruesome crime.

Persaud, an ex-policeman and rice farmer was said to have gone berserk when his wife, who was at a wedding celebration, refused to go home with him.

According to eyewitnesses, Ashmattie Persaud had gone to the 'Kangan' (feast day of a Hindu wedding) with her nine-year-old son. Reports said that she had sent her son home and stayed on at the wedding feast. Guests at the wedding said that Yagroop visited the wedding house at 165 'C', Bush Lot and called his wife out of the yard. They had an argument during the course of which he was said to have kicked her.

It was following this episode that he departed telling the guests "ah coming back", but it was said that no one paid him much attention.

The father of two, whom it was disclosed, was the head of the village Mandir, was later seen returning dressed in a green cloak which almost covered his face. As he approached the house where the wedding was held, witnesses said, he pulled the gun out from underneath his cloak and fired two shots in the direction of his wife who was at the time sitting on a bench. It was during this assault that injuries were sustained by Kissoon and 13-year-old Bajnauth. The Persauds' nine-year-old son Anil was said to have been a witness to this.

A woman, who gave her name as Chandra, told this newspaper that it was after the guests saw 'Squaddy' shoot his wife that they all "scattered" in various directions some running into the house. Chandra said she hid under the nearest table.

It was recounted that Daneswar Bajnauth, who was a cousin of the assailant's wife, approached Persaud and asked: "Squaddy is what happen to you?" Instead of replying, it was said he turned the gun in the peacemaker's direction and pulled the trigger, killing him instantly.

The assailant then "calmly" departed the scene, eyewitnesses said, in the direction of his home.

Relatives of Bajnauth said it was at this time that Alicia Ajodah, seeing the injuries to her aunt, Ashmattie, left to go home, to alert her parents to what was happening. When she entered the house, located in the adjoining yard to where the feast was being held, she found their bodies lying in a pool of blood on the floor of their kitchen.

It was learnt that the murderer's wife, had spent two nights at her sister's home before the incident. It was presumed that Persaud, instead of returning to the wedding, had gone there to await his wife's return. However, it was his sister-in-law and her husband who arrived first and were greeted by bullets. It was following this, that he proceeded to the wedding house where he shot his wife and her cousin.

Witnesses said that there was loud music and merriment at the feast which must have drowned out the sound of those first gunshots.

It is unclear what triggered off the chain of events, but reports said that the man and his wife had had some serious domestic problems. Relatives of his wife described the man as a "sweetman", who was involved in numerous extra-marital relationships.

The bullet-riddled bench where Ashmattie Persaud was sitting when she was shot by her husband, Yagroop Persaud. (Photo by Aubrey Crawford)

The act, according to a witness, seemed to have been premeditated as the killer appeared dressed to kill, in a cloak and long boots which helped to conceal the long weapon.

He reportedly became annoyed after his wife did not return home with him and was said to be "jealous" of the way she seemed to be enjoying herself at the feast.

A friend recalled that he seemed eager to get his wife away from the wedding house but she did not yield to his requests.

Neighbours of the Persauds said all they heard was a single gunshot and when they investigated they saw the man lying underneath his house with his brains blown out. When Stabroek News visited the man's house a thick clot of blood could be seen on the ground and splattered pieces of his brain were on the wall under the house. Apparently the man locked his house before committing the act and up to late yesterday afternoon no one was able to gain access to it.

This incident comes in the wake of several recent ones including a murder/suicide at Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara, when Lalta Persaud Singh viciously chopped his mother Kissoondai Singh while she was lying in a hammock. The November 8, 1999 incident allegedly had its genesis in the loan of a piece of jewellery from his mother to his wife. He then drank a weedicide and jumped from a window of the West Demerara Regional Hospital, before dying some hours after. Kissoondai Singh died the next day at the Georgetown Hospital.

On July 7, a security guard, Raul Herod of Buxton, East Coast Demerara, killed his grandmother, mother, aunt, two of his three children and a niece and nephew, setting fire to the family home and executing himself. One of his children survived a bullet, which had lodged in his jaw. The killings stemmed from an ongoing family feud.

And on December 24, 1994 Imtiaz Rahaman of Triumph, East Coast Demerara, shot and killed his wife and two of their four children before turning the gun on himself. This incident also reportedly stemmed from a domestic dispute.