Six persons in custody

'Chammar', cop slaying
By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
March 21, 2000

Six persons including a woman are in police custody following the fatal shooting of police constable Allan Higgins and Hilton Rodrigues called 'Chammar' in the backlands of Cromarty on the Corentyne on Friday night. They include Rodrigues' reputed wife Alicia Drepaul, 23, and his brother Lloyd Bethune 28.

Drepaul is expected to appear in court today on a charge of being in possession of military apparel, while Bethune is likely to face arms and ammunition possession charges. Bethune was arrested on Saturday by the police.

Rodrigues, who was wanted by the police for questioning in connection with several robberies, thefts and at least three murders, was shot and killed by the police during a shoot-out in the backlands of Cromarty where he had been hiding for several months. Higgins, a member of the Quick Reaction Group, which staged an ambush for Rodrigues, was reportedly shot in the head by a single bullet in the dark night from the wanted man's 9mm pistol. Rodrigues was reportedly shot several times about the body and head shortly after firing the fatal shot.

Meanwhile, the police are continuing to scour the backlands for what is being described as "an arms cache" that might have belonged to the late fugitive. The cache is said to include a sub-machine gun and a pump-action shotgun which were reportedly used by 'Chammar' and two accomplices in the robbery and fatal shooting of a Chinese businessman at Number 43 Village last year. One of 'Chammar's alleged accomplices, Goganand Ramotar called 'Go Go' has been charged with the murder of the Chinese businessman. Police are reportedly continuing their search for a second accomplice who may be armed and possibly hiding in the backlands of Cromarty. According to a police source, a handgun was discovered in the vicinity of the area where Rodrigues was killed.

Rodrigues' mother, Anna Rodrigues, said she had not seen her son for several months but had learnt that he was wanted by the police for robberies and murders. "However," she said, "I was willing to take him to the police but I did not see him since last year." The police had searched the house at Cromarty where his mother, reputed wife and two children (seven and three years old) lived and found military apparel including belts and head-dress. The post-mortem examinations on the two bodies were performed on Saturday a few hours after the shooting by Pathologist Dr V Bridgmohan. On Sunday the corpse of Higgins was removed from the New Amsterdam Hospital Mortuary to a private funeral home, according to relatives, to avoid any conflict with the relatives of Rodrigues.

Rodrigues' body was up to yesterday still lying in the hospital's morgue and no date has yet been fixed for his funeral. Higgins' father told Stabroek News that the funeral of his son is likely to take place on Saturday. This newspaper understands that his mother was expected to arrive in the country last night or early this morning for the funeral.

Rodrigues hit the headlines in October when the police disclosed that he was wanted for questioning in connection with the beating to death of Tarlogie Businessman Gajraj Matadial in the backlands of Tarlogie. He was a suspect in the shooting of Matadial's son Chaitram Matadial in November, also at Tarlogie. In January he was fingered in the slaying of ex-policeman Lalta Persaud Indal at Cromarty in a liquor restaurant. Rodrigues was known to have been camping out in the backlands of Cromarty some 26 miles from New Amsterdam since last year.