Joint Services in hunt for killer gang
Guyana Chronicle
April 4, 2002

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OTHER agencies in the Joint Services, including the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), have joined the Police in the round-the-clock hunt for the gang that Tuesday killed well-known anti-crime fighter, Superintendent Leon Fraser.

Fraser, shot in the head, was the second murder victim of the gang which also killed Prison Officer Troy Williams, 21, when it broke out of the Georgetown Prison on February 23, last. One of the five also shot Woman Prison Officer, Roxanne Whinfield, 36, in the head as they fled and she remains critically wounded in the Georgetown Hospital.

The Police last night said they were combing the Yarowkabra area, on the Linden-Soesdyke highway where Fraser, 42, was killed as he and other members of the special Police Anti-Crime (Black Clothes) Unit approached an abandoned vehicle hidden among bushes.

A Police source said the officer was not shot as he peered into the vehicle as other sources told the Chronicle Tuesday at Yarowkabra. Nobody was in the vehicle, the official said.

Crime prevention activities on the East Bank and East Coast highways have been stepped up also, the Police said.

"The Force has intensified its activities, paying critical attention to likely escape routes, with enhanced ground and air support", Police said.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon yesterday expressed outrage at the killing and said that all the agencies in the Joint Services were assisting the Police in the hunt for the bandits.

"...this additional insult to the law, insult to the dignity of the Police Force, this utterly lawless act" would be the occasion for a heightened commitment by the law enforcement agencies and the Government, he told reporters.

"I envision that assets of the administration - civilian assets - would also be utilised by the law enforcement agencies to give greater support to law enforcement, as long as this situation with the outrages being perpetrated by these bandits continues", Luncheon declared.

He said that following the jailbreak on Republic Day, several task forces involving the Army, the Prison Service and other law enforcement agencies were set up in a coordinated Joint Services effort to recapture the heavily armed men.

Since the jailbreak the gang was linked to several daring car hijackings and robberies in and around the city.

Following a tip-off on Tuesday that the five escapees were in the area, Fraser and a party of Policemen from his unit were dispatched to Yarowkabra.

Police said that when they confronted the men, a gun battle ensued and Fraser was shot in the head nearing 14:30 hrs. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital in Georgetown at around 15:30 hrs.

The abandoned vehicle the Police party was approaching was the station wagon hijacked from a Canadian consultant and his wife in the city around midnight Monday, a source said yesterday.

That was the third vehicle the men were believed to have hijacked that night, starting with the car of Army Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Christine King.

Her car was hijacked by four men at around 20:40 hrs Monday at Anira Street, Queenstown, Georgetown.

The men terrorised King and her cousin in their quest to get the keys to her car.

They took off without hurting the two, and abandoned the car at Buxton, where they reportedly hijacked a Mark 11 car.

That was abandoned later that night in the city when they pounced on the Canadians.

They took off in the station wagon with the couple's computer, cameras and a pair of binoculars, but not before dealing them several blows in the face and head.

The Police Force is offering at least $2.5M for information that could lead to the arrest of the five escapees. Police headquarters said there was a reward of at least $500,000 on the head of each of the five prisoners who fled the Georgetown Prison.

Those on the run are Andrew Douglas, Mark Fraser, Shawn Brown, Troy Dick and Dale Moore, all linked to the notorious `Blackie' criminal gang.

The `Blackie' ring was led by Linden `Blackie' London who was shot dead when he was cornered in a Police-Army operation in an Eccles, East Bank Demerara guest house in February 1999.

Fraser was involved in that operation and several other battles with criminals.

The Police Force in a press release yesterday stated that its most critical support at this time is public confidence, cooperation and support for its efforts not only to apprehend the escapees, but to fulfill its mandate to enforce the laws of the country.

"We must act together and allow peace and prosperity to overtake this dear land of ours", the Police said.

"The...Force is calling on all law abiding citizens to cooperate and support its efforts to apprehend the five bandits and to ensure the integrity of the law."

The Police said their records show that 27 cops were killed in the line of duty here since 1919.

Luncheon yesterday expressed sympathies to the Police Force, the relatives of the slain Fraser and "all law abiding citizens who feel deeply grieved" at Tuesday's killing on behalf of the Office of the President and Cabinet.

He said he wished to assure "the Guyanese people, the Force, families of not only the slain police but all those who have suffered at the hands of these bandits and other bandits, that we are even more firmly committed to our quest to remove this scourge from the nation, from the people of Guyana."

Fraser was born on August 19, 1959 at Wales, West Bank Demerara. He joined the Guyana Police Force in April, 1985 and attended the one year Standard Military Officers Course sponsored by the GDF.

He was promoted to Cadet Officer on September 12, 1986, Assistant Superintendent on September 12, 1987, Deputy Superintendent on March 01, 1992 and Superintendent on January 01, 1999.

Superintendent Fraser spent most of his time at CID in Linden and Police Headquarters, Eve Leary and some time at the Police Mounted Branch.

He was a member of the Guyana National Rifle Association, and participated in several tournaments including the 2001 International Shooting Championships in Barbados.