Four policemen hurt in Coldingen attack
Gunmen were waiting for cops -residents
Stabroek News
May 27, 2002

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Four police officers are in hospital after two gunmen opened fire on them early Saturday evening as they were investigating a suspicious looking vehicle at the back of Coldingen, East Coast Demerara.

The vehicle carrying the policemen burst into flames after the attack.

The four officers are Corporal Ray Gyness, 41, of 'C' Division, Constable Sherwin Alleyne, 26 of Campbellville, Ravi Outar, 24 and Marlon Cruickshank, 21 both of `C' Division.

Stabroek News understands that Cruickshank suffered gunshot wounds to the left shoulder, chest and thigh and is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while Alleyne suffered multiple gunshot wounds and a compound fracture to the left femur, Gyness also has multiple gunshot wounds with a penetrating wound to the back and Outar is said to have suffered a gunshot wound to the head. They are in the High Dependency Unit ward of the hospital.

A police press release said on Saturday evening two gunmen opened fire on a police mobile patrol at about 1935 hrs (7.35 p.m.) behind Coldingen and also shot at the police vehicle, PEE 3286, setting it ablaze.

The release said that the ranks were at the time investigating the movement of a vehicle approaching a dam, not associated with vehicular traffic, behind Coldingen and as they drew close to a pump on a lonely dam the two gunmen, who were standing on the dam, opened fire on the patrol and fled into the night.

Reinforcements were called in and they were able to transport the injured officers to the hospital while the burning vehicle was later brought out from the dam and parked in the Vigilance Police Station compound. Investigations have commenced into the attack.

Yesterday, police officials were tightlipped on how exactly the incident occurred and a visit to the hospital where the men are being taken care of proved to be futile as they refused to speak on the incident.

Stabroek News understands that the officers were under strict instructions not to divulge any information on the incident.

Relatives and friends swarmed the hospital yesterday comforting the injured men and there was a heavy police guard.

This newspaper visited the area where the officers came under attack and was told by residents the two gunmen had apparently hidden in the area and waited for the officers.

According to residents, the police officers visited the area just prior to the attack and asked persons if they had seen the bandits or any suspicious vehicle in the area.

The bandits the policemen asked for were understood to be the five armed and dangerous dangerous criminals who escaped from the Georgetown Prison on February 23. They are, Dale Moore, Andrew Douglas, Troy Dick, Shawn Brown and Mark Fraser. Since the five broke out of prison the capital city and outlying areas have been under a virtual siege by bandits who have robbed and murdered.

According to the residents, the officers told them that they had received a call about a suspicious vehicle in the area which does not usually have that kind of traffic. The road is more or less a dirt track and one has to travel for quite some distance before arriving at the dam.

This newspaper was told by the residents that they had seen the car in the area but because it was dark they could not remember the number plate. They were unable to say how many persons were in the vehicle but stated that the occupants of the car disembarked the vehicle and were hiding in some bushes off the road waiting for the officers.

One resident said that the police officers were returning to their vehicle after speaking to them when they came under fire. The resident recalled that they were forced to duck some of the bullets which whizzed past them.

"Some of the bullets look like a small ball a fire as it went over we head and we had to duck," the resident said indicating that the gunmen were using high-powered weapons.

The resident could not recall where the gunmen's vehicle was at the time and could not say how the men escaped.

When the police vehicle went up in flames all the residents fled indoors locking up their homes tightly. It was only after reinforcements visited the area and the injured were evacuated that residents ventured out of their homes.

Residents yesterday took the opportunity to complain about how they are being harassed daily by criminals.

One woman recalled that she was in her farm last week when two men, whom she said are known to be bandits, approached her and she was forced to drop everything "and I run for me life and they tek everything I lef behind." The woman said that the bandits would steal cattle from residents in the broad daylight and there is nothing the residents could do.

According to the resident, another man who is building a home in the area was forced to give all the money he was going to pay his workmen with to two bandits who held him up at gun point.

The residents are calling for more regular police patrols in the area but also acknowledged that this would be burdensome for the police because of the difficult terrain. In recent months, the police have come under armed attack several times and two of their number have been killed.

Police Superintendent Leon Fraser and Police Detective Harry Kooseram were shot dead in separate attacks. Earlier this month, two policemen were injured when their vehicle was fired at outside of Buxton.