No progress in McKinnon murder probe
Bullet still lodged in Bhood's spine

Stabroek News
April 22, 2001

The man injured in the April 9, shooting incident is out of hospital but the police are no closer to solving the case, which has left a bullet lodged in his back and a woman dead.

The police said no one has yet come forward to give statements on the shootings but investigations were continuing. Donna McKinnon, 43, was shot dead in an empty lot next to Freedom House, the PPP/Civic's headquarters on Robb Street and Ramnarine Bhood, 35, was shot in the back on the pavement next to the lot.

Bhood was discharged from hospital on Thursday. When Stabroek News visited him yesterday he was in serious pain from the wound in the lower left back.

According to a relative, an x-ray revealed that the bullet was lodged somewhere between the left hip and the spine. It was pointing slightly downwards, the relative said.

Bhood said hospital authorities advised him that the institution did not have the equipment to remove the bullet. He was told to make regular visits to the hospital for check-ups.

Bhood recalled that he was on his way home from work that afternoon when he was almost killed. He said he was on the pavement walking past the empty lot, heading north on Wellington Street, when he was shot.

This was just after the Target Special Force arrived in the area and began firing shots to clear the area of the crowd gathered to look at the fire, which destroyed ten buildings.

Bhood said he could barely recall what happened afterwards but was conscious of assistance being given to him by a friend who lived in the Lodge Hall yard next to the empty lot. He was then taken away in a police vehicle.

An eyewitness has stated he heard shots coming from a back landing at Freedom House.

It is not clear what sort of weapons the Target Special Force was using that day and whether they used live bullets.

A source close to the police said that members of the squad used a variety of weapons including side arms of 9-mm calibre. They also used shotguns and other heavy weaponry depending on the situation they were going into.

An officer in the security forces with ballistic experience told this newspaper yesterday that the category of a bullet could be identified from a x-ray if a bullet is lodged in the body.

However, to be able to specify which weapon the bullet was fired from, an internal ballistics test would have to be done.

The officer explained that the markings on the warhead would have to be identified and matched with the markings on the suspected weapon. The markings on a shell casing are specific to a particular weapon, it was pointed out, much like fingerprints.

If a bullet was fired from above, the exit wound ought to be a little lower on the body, the officer said. But it was noted that there was a possibility of the bullet hitting a hard bone, ricocheting and changing direction.

But this could be cleared up upon careful examination of the entry wound and determination of the path of the bullet, the officer stated.

The police had recovered a spent shell and a warhead from the area where McKinnon was killed.

McKinnon's reputed husband, Brian Caesar, said yesterday that the two of them were on the pavement next to the Metropole cinema on Robb Street looking on at the fire when the Target Special Force arrived, guns blazing.

The crowd panicked and ran helter skelter in all directions.

Caesar recalled he ran west along Robb Street but got a glimpse of McKinnon running with several others into the empty lot next to Freedom House.

Meanwhile, the police drove further down Wellington Street to clear the area of onlookers.

According to Caesar, he remembered hearing what sounded like gunshots coming from the direction of Freedom House when the squad had opened fire to disperse the crowd.

After a few minutes had elapsed, Caesar made his way back to the area around Metropole cinema to look for his wife.

He said he scoured the entire area, including the empty lot and the Lodge Hall yard next door but did not see her.

In the Lodge Hall yard he saw Bhood lying wounded with a crowd around him.

It was later that evening he learnt that his wife had died from gunshots and was found in the same empty lot he had searched, under some zinc sheets. The lot has since been fenced with zinc sheets.

The police removed McKinnon's body from the scene. And Caesar has questioned this action by the police. He said from information he had received, it was established that McKinnon was dead when she was found.

Therefore, it was the job of a funeral parlour to remove the body after the police had done their initial investigation, he stated. This was the first sign which cast some suspicion on the circumstances surrounding her death, Caesar said.

He said more doubts set in when the family was refused permission to witness the post mortem examination, even though they were asked to sign a document earlier giving the names of the persons who would have borne witness.