Cop returns fire as gunmen attack restaurant
-- three wounded
Guyana Chronicle
October 23, 2002

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POLICE yesterday launched an intensive search for four heavily armed gunmen who hijacked a white motorcar, PFF 4052, shortly after they had stormed a Brazilian-owned restaurant in the city and fired several shots, wounding two men.

Another man who lives in the area was hit by a bullet while he was in his yard.

Sources said a detective who was in the restaurant recognised the gunmen as they approached, took cover and engaged them as they opened fire.
The attackers terrorised staff and patrons in an ordeal with lasted for about five minutes.

As they fled after the attack, a former military officer opened fire on their vehicle, shattering the back windscreen, sources said, but the men shortly after abandoned the vehicle and hijacked a car from an elderly woman.

The two wounded men, who included a Brazilian national, were shot around 14:30 hrs as the gang, two of whom are believed to be February 23 prison escapees, Shawn Brown and Dale Moore, stormed the `Bar-B-Que Restaurant', also known as `Brazil Churrascaria', at 208 Alexander Street.

Eyewitnesses said four men drove up in a burgundy-coloured motorcar - PHH 4179 - and as it stopped in front of the restaurant, three of them, wearing bulletproof vests and heavily armed, emerged in a very casual but dramatic manner and walked into the eating place.

Reports said there were six patrons in the restaurant at the time - three Brazilians seated at one table while a Policeman attached to the Force's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was having lunch with two friends at another table.

The Policeman and his friends had just finished their meals when the detective saw the men entering the restaurant and immediately recognised them, according to reports.

Witnesses said that he dashed for cover, took up a position and engaged the gunmen shortly after they entered the premises.

The Policeman had reportedly received several death threats since another Policeman, Adrian London, was brutally gunned down in Durban Street, Lodge.

The motive for the daring shooting incident could not be ascertained since the gunmen did not rob the restaurant, its staff or patrons.

Police said they recovered eight 9mm spent shells, six 7.62 live rounds and three 7.62 spent shells at the scene.

Sources said the three men who emerged from the car were positively identified as Shawn 'Marco' Gittens and February 23 prison escapees Shawn Brown and Dale Moore.

All three men are wanted by the Police for a series of high-profile robberies, kidnapping, and murder.

Witnesses said the gunmen opened fire immediately upon entering the restaurant with several bullets hitting a metal and glass container with a variety of food that was on yesterday's menu.

One of the men then opened fire on a waiter/cook, who was identified by fellow staff members as 'Nibaldo'.

The Brazilian was shot twice in the back and was in critical state at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation up to late yesterday.

A customer was reported to have sustained a gunshot wound on the back of a hand.

The Policeman who returned fire at the attackers, took cover behind a concrete wall of the premises.

Witnesses said that before the men re-entered the car one of them fired a few shots down Alexander Street - in the direction of South Road and Croal Streets.

One eyewitness said Gittens had a high-powered weapon in his right hand and a handgun in his left.

A bullet fired by the gunmen down the street, hit a man who was more than 200 feet away behind a closed gate, walking in his yard.

Relatives said the bullet grazed Robert Raghunandan, 58, on his left side forehead, just above the temple as he was walking in his yard at 43 Croal Street.

They said the bullet went on to hit the windscreen of a truck parked in the same yard.

Relatives said Raghunandan slumped to the ground bleeding profusely as he called out to those at home at the time that he was shot.

More than a dozen relatives of Raghunandan, who is employed as a 'watchman' at a business place in the city, rushed to the Georgetown Hospital from as far as Crane, West Coast Demerara; Bee Hive, East Coast Demerara and Grove, East Bank Demerara as news quickly spread that he had been shot in the head by gunmen.

Raghunandan was admitted to the hospital where he had to undergo emergency surgery. Relatives said he was stable last night.

His wife, Radica, 58, told this newspaper she was not at home at the time when her husband was shot since she had visited her daughter at her place in Crane Village.

Police said the gunmen abandoned the car PHH 4179 at the corner of Cummings and New Market Streets, Alberttown, and immediately hijacked the white coloured vehicle, PFF 4052, which was being driven by an elderly woman.

Eyewitnesses said that although the woman did not suffer any major injuries, she was visibly shaken and traumatised by the incident and broke into tears as she stood in the middle of the road staring at her vehicle as the gunmen sped away.