Wanted men may have fled before police arrived
Stabroek News
May 9, 2002

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The men who the police were trying to capture at Preminiranjan Place, Prashad Nagar on Saturday might have fled even before the law enforcers descended on the location and started firing at the building, observers say.

A visit to the premises yesterday by Stabroek News revealed little change from the state which prevailed after the shooting incident, when ranks from the Target Special Squad popularly called the `Black Clothes' arrived there in pursuit of the five prison escapees presumed to be holed up there.

The police had said that they encountered a hail of gunfire as they approached the premises after receiving information that the wanted bandits were there.

In a release from the force on Sunday it was stated that ranks from the force were fired upon while approaching the Prashad Nagar premises forcing them to adopt tactical manoeuvres.

Further it was claimed that police operations were hampered by the terrain which included high fences and a nearby temple in addition to the need to avoid civilian casualties in a heavily populated residential area.

However, it has been suggested that it was the police and not anyone from the house, if there was anyone, who began firing at the time of their arrival at the premises.

Observers say from the evidence at the scene, a pattern of shots fired at the building showed that these emanated from a southeasterly direction as most of the gouges on the structure were located on its eastern and southeastern and southern sides.

All other sides of the building seemed intact save for a few broken windows at the rear and western side. Moreover, there was no evidence of damage to surrounding buildings which might have been caused by gunfire emanating from the Premniranjan Place house.

The sole usable exit at the time of the operation was one of two front doors as both the rear one and another leading to the inner step were grilled and padlocked as they were at the time this newspaper examined the scene both after the assault and yesterday. The exit located near the front of the building, which is the sole serviceable one in the event of a hurried departure is likely to have been the one used by the fleeing bandits as they departed.

This exit would have brought the men into the open and exposed them to police fire, even as they tried to make good their escape indicating that they had left even before the police arrived.

The back fence of the premises leads into the yard of another Prashad Nagar premises and onto an adjacent street, where evidence suggests, the men made their escape. If this were the case, the question that would have to be asked was whether the arriving police ranks had actually covered all possible escape routes leading to the premises before attempting to ascertain whether the men were actually holed up in the Preminiranjan Place residence.

Another question arising from Saturday's episode is what were the tactical manoeuvres that the police press release implied were adopted by ranks after they were fired upon as they arrived at the Prashad Nagar residence? Were attempts made to stake out the house earlier?

The Prashad Nagar residence came under siege on Saturday last when ranks of the Target Special Squad acting on information that it was one of the locations being used by the wanted bandits swooped on the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, in a further press release yesterday the police continued to highlight the discovery of the plastic pail at the scene with 589 rounds of AK47 ammunition, which they said was an indication of the level of support being received by the bandits.

According to the release, the support network emanating from several sources includes young women, active and inactive criminals, some of whom work with some taxi services and illegal smugglers in the criminal underworld.

While continuing to solicit the assistance and support of the public, which they see as critical in their quest to re-capture the dangerous criminals, the force again cautioned and warned persons against providing cover and other forms of support to the escapees.

And despite the recent operations the five escapees, Andrew Douglas, Shawn Browne, Dale Moore, Troy Dick and Mark Fraser remain at large and on the run.