`Well dressed' criminals kill Beharry guard
...men chatted under plum tree before attack By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
July 10, 2002

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AN ARMED security guard employed by Edward B. Beharry and Company Limited was shot dead yesterday by a gang of three "well dressed" men who attacked one of the company's sales/distribution vehicles on its regular weekly rounds in South Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara.

The bandits then fled the scene, reportedly with nothing, running in the direction of neighbouring Sophia where they were seen boarding a passenger mini-bus and making good their escape.

Thirty-five-year-old Carlyle Wickham, also known as Carl, of 22 Surat Drive, Triumph Village, East Coast Demerara, was shot in the head and the groin and reportedly died on the spot.

Wickham was employed by Beharry as a security guard and at the time of the incident, he was escorting a Beharry Salesman, Abdool Shaeed and a porter.

He leaves to mourn his reputed wife, Avis Hudson, who is also a security guard, on attachment at the University of Guyana, and his four daughters - Carlotta, 18, who has just completed her 'A' Levels at the St. Roses High School; Treneisa, 13; Carolyn, 15 and four-year-old Shabeki.

Residents said the three men, whom they described as being "well dressed", were not from the area but were seen 'liming' there since 08:00 hrs yesterday.

Residents said the men were under this plum tree waiting to attack. In photo, the scene of the fatal shooting (right) and the grocery shop at which the men also shot . (Winston Oudkerk photos)
They said the men were seen sitting under a plum tree in the area chatting, and that nothing had really seemed "out of place" until the incident happened as the red Beharry van pulled up outside a grocery shop.

Scores of persons gathered at the crime scene, a few of whom indicated that the three men escaped down the mud dam into the Sophia area where they were seen hurriedly boarding a passenger mini-bus plying the Sophia/Georgetown route.

Wickham's eldest daughter, Carlotta, recounted that her father, whom she described as a very loving and humane person, used to work with the Beharry Company before migrating to Barbados where he lived for a while.

He then came back around August last year and started working again at Beharry as a security guard around October last year.

Residents said the three men were seen in the area, sitting under the plum tree, which is a short distance from the shop. One woman said that although she did not recognise them as being from her area (South Cummings Lodge), she did not pay much attention to them since they appeared to be "very casual and well dressed".

"I was inside when I heard the shots and then I came out...and then I saw when one of the three men fired the bullets with a shine handgun," she reported.

According to the resident, the man with the gun was shouting 'gimme the money, gimme the money' and shooting simultaneously.

"Was three a them. One was standing under that plum tree, one was standing on that bridge and the one that had the shine gun like silver, he was firing (bullets) all the time...," one man said, pointing to indicate the specific locations he was referring to.

It is understood that the salesman, Abdool Shaeed and the porter, were entering the shop when the men decided to strike. The bandit with the gun targeted Wickham who was standing guard by the vehicle parked across the dam. Reports indicated that he ran around the van after the bandit started firing. Two bullet holes were evident on the driver's side.

It could not be ascertained whether the guard confronted any of the bandits or returned fire.

The salesman, meanwhile, sought refuge in the shop. It is understood that after the bandit started to shoot, he ran through the door leading into the house (which was open) and hid in the kitchen.

Reports are that the porter also escaped and ran down the street.

"What I think happened is that they think they would ah get the money out of the vehicle. Was that dey really going fa, fu get the money from the vehicle," a resident on the scene asserted.

One woman who was walking on the same dam that the three men used to escape on foot, gun in hand, had to run to the side of the dam and hide behind some bushes. The woman said the man with the gun in his hand looked "menacing", running down the dam with his two accomplices.

According to her, one of the men, who was dressed in black pants and white shirt, had a black bag.

Members of the Police Target Special Squad arrived on the scene shortly after, but left in a haste. Other members of the Police Force remained and conducted investigations.

The bandits also fired shots at the grocery store at the corner of the street, where the salesman went to transact his business, but they did not enter the premises.

Those at home at the time were a 20-year-old girl, who was selling in the shop, her mom and their neighbour's two children, aged three and four years.

The girl said she does not know the salesman, since another one from Beharry would normally go to the shop to sell groceries.

She said that when the salesman ran into the shop in fright after the bullets started to ring out in the street, she immediately locked all the doors.

The girl said they normally buy chowmein, curry powder and a few other items for the shop from the Beharry van.

"Actually I paid the guy for the stuff but I didn't even collect anything up to now. I mean it's not much. These people don't get much sales here anyway. I just bought about $2,000 chowmein and some curry powder," she said.

She also noted that the van went in the area every Tuesday around 11:00 hrs to 12:00 hrs.

Wickham's sister, the district midwife at the Beterverwagting (BV) Health Centre, Ms. Avril Smith, was an emotional wreck yesterday shortly after hearing the tragic news.

"This is very sad and shocking to me. Last night (Monday night) my brother spoke with me concerning some very important matters and we promised to look after it today (yesterday)," Smith told the Chronicle.

Smith, who is the eldest of eight children, said she received the tragic news from her first cousin, Fiona Wickham. According to her, Fiona, who lives a short distance from where the incident occurred, rushed over to the Health Centre at BV and "started screaming".

"I thought that her mother or somebody had died, but then she shouted that Carl is dead. I wanted to know who's Carl because I couldn't think about my own brother. However, eventually she said it was my brother Carl," Smith said, the tears streaming down her face.

"I said, `Are you sure? How did this happen?'. I still couldn't believe (Fiona). So I called home and spoke to my niece (Carlotta) and asked for Carl. She told me that her father had gone to work...," Smith recalled.

"I am very sad, depressed, upset right now. I can't take this..."

Smith also noted how sad it is "to pass on these kinds of messages to relatives" but said she will have to get the news over to relatives abroad.

Apart from Carl, she and another sister are the only siblings in Guyana as the others are overseas.

Meanwhile, in a press statement issued yesterday afternoon, the management and staff of the Beharry Company extended "deepest sympathy to the relatives of Carl Wickham."

"Carl was a dedicated security officer who always performed his duties in the most professional manner...we lost a member of our family to senseless crime and we mourn his loss," the statement said.

The company also said it stands by Wickham's family in their hour of grief