Police, escapees in shootout
Guyana Chronicle
May 5, 2002

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POLICE and members of the prison escapees gang were in a sustained shootout in the Prashad Nagar section of Georgetown last night and at press time, the search was still on for the bandits.

Reports said that about three members of the gang late yesterday afternoon tried to hijack a car in the area but the alert driver saw the guns they were carrying and took evasive action.

The men, however, opened fire on the car as he drove away and Police were quickly alerted that the gang was in that part of the city and heavily armed units were dispatched to the scene.

Several bullets hit the car but the driver was not wounded.

Cordons were thrown up around the area as Police moved in and then began an exchange of gunfire that was heard blocks away and lasted from about 18:00 hrs for about an hour.

Residents said the gang members were apparently hiding in the area and seemed desperate to get a vehicle as dusk stepped in.

The Police had been on extra alert for them since two members of the gang were believed to have been shot in the robbery attack Friday afternoon on city businessman, Mr. Patrick Seebaran.

As the shooting continued, Police stopped people from going into the cordoned off area and an advisory was aired on Channel 69 TV urging residents to stay indoors.

Up to press time, Police were maintaining a presence in the area.

It was not immediately clear if anyone was wounded in the shooting last night.

Reports said the stand-off took place in the streets close to the Georgetown American School on Delhi Street, where the men appeared to have been hiding in drains nearby.

An exchange of sustained gunfire was also reported at a two-storeyed house on Premniranjan Place, immediately east of the Central Vaidik Mandir, where the fleeing bandits were believed to have taken cover when things began to get hot.

A 31-year-old woman who lives in the lower flat of the house with her seven-year-old son was said to be assisting Police in their investigations.

Relatives and close friends said the woman, identified as Althea Carto, called them by cell phone from under her bed saying that she believed the bandits were holed out in the upper flat and were exchanging fire with the Police.

Some said they tried telling the Police that a woman and her son alone lived there, but their response was that they couldn't stop shooting since the bandits were returning fire.

They said that as they spoke with Carto trying to calm her, they heard her scream as Police kicked down the door to gain entrance into the flat.

The last they saw of her, they said, both she and her son were being whisked away in a Police vehicle.

There were debris and bullet holes everywhere and the house appeared to have been ransacked after Police moved into the place.

Up to late last night there was still a heavy presence of armed Police in the neighbourhood.