Bandits kill Beharry guard in van attack
By Kim Lucas
July 10, 2002
The calm of the East Coast village of Cummings Lodge was shattered yesterday when three men opened fire on a delivery van belonging to Edward B. Beharry and Company, killing a security guard.
Dead is Carlyle Wickham called ‘Mystic’, 40, of 22 Surat Drive, Triumph, East Coast Demerara. The man and two others - identified as Abdool Shaheed, a sales rep/driver and Kampta Shivsankar, a porter - had gone to Third Field, South Cummings Lodge to vend the company’s goods when the incident occurred.
When Stabroek News arrived on the scene, Wickham’s body was still lying on the access road, at the side of the delivery van, GGG 8220. There were several indentations on the vehicle, which, the police said, were made when the bandits started shooting.
According to reports, the incident occurred at about 1110 hrs. One resident recounted: "I was sleeping when they fired the first shot. My wife wake me up and then I run out...the three men shot the guard and then they shoot at the shop and then they come here [to a plum tree opposite the shop] and pick up deh bag and go away."
Residents said the men had been sitting under the plum tree since very early that morning, but no one paid any attention to them. When the Beharry’s delivery van pulled up on the access road, adjacent to the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus, Shaheed and Shivsankar went to the grocery shop to take orders.
Stabroek News understands that as Shivsankar returned to the van to get the goods ordered, the bandits emerged and started shooting at the van.
A police source told Stabroek News that Wickham was shot three times - in the head, on the left shoulder and in the area of the pelvis.
"After they shot the vehicle, they come around and meet the guard and they and the guard had a scuffle. During the scuffle, the guard was shot. The bandits then took the guard’s firearm... apparently the guard tried to draw the gun and shoot at them, because one of them got injured," the police source told this newspaper. The police retrieved a .32 automatic shell and warhead from the scene of the crime. Shaheed and Shivsankar were later invited to the Sparendaam Police Station to give statements.
Two residents said they saw Wickham rush around to the other side of the van.
"The guard [Wickham] run ‘round... they got two bullet on the vehicle and we don’t know what happen at the back. He was shot and he fall down right behind there and then [the bandits] come back and start shoot up at the mistress and shoot up the shop."
One of the gunmen reportedly entered the business premises through the front entrance, another stood to the side, while the third remained on the bridge across the canal.
Other residents claimed to have seen one of the attackers with a "shine gun."
"Gimme de money, gimme de money," were the attackers’ menacing demands, the couple recalled simultaneously. But apparently the bandits were unable to get any money from the van.
The young woman who was in the shop at the time, told this newspaper: "The man came in to sell me. When I went to get the money... I hear a knocking and then he say, ‘Look! The man getting rob over deh,’ and he [the sales rep] run in the house... I say before the [bandits] run in behind him, I close down and come and close the door... [The sales rep] was in there and I didn’t even know [he] was in there."
The young woman’s mother and two young children - ages three and four - who live nearby, were playing at the shop at the time of the attack.
"The big one started to cry and then the little one started to cry after," the young woman stated. She is adamant that the bandits were not targeting the business premises, since, according to her, the Beharry van delivers goods every Tuesday at a specific time.
"These people don’t get much sales here... $2,000 [she had paid] for some chowmein and two pounds of curry powder]. It was nothing much," the 20-year-old said.
At Dennis Street, where the buses turn back, some people claimed to have seen three men board a minibus just around the time of the shooting.
Shortly after the incident, Wickham’s cousin, Fiona Wickham, was returning home and stopped to enquire who had died.
"I was just coming in. I know he [Wickham] does work with Beharry, so when I reach there, I saw the crowd and I was asking somebody if they could allow me to see the face and as soon as I pull off the canvas, I recognise is him," the woman said. She immediately alerted the dead man’s sister, Avril Smith, a nurse at the Beterverwagting Health Centre, also on the East Coast Demerara.
Wickham, fifth of eight children for his parents, Chazford and Irma Wickham who reside abroad, also leaves to mourn four children, the eldest of whom has just completed her A-Level examinations. In a release yesterday, Edward B. Beharry and Company expressed sadness at the killing of Wickham.
"Carl was a dedicated security officer who always performed his duties in the most professional manner. [Yesterday] we lost a member of our family to senseless crime and we mourn his loss. We stand by his family in this, their hour of grief," the release stated.
Wickham’s death came less than 48 hours after that of Mohan Singh, 38, a labourer from the island of Leguan in the Essequibo River. Singh was killed on Sunday night by a group of bandits while guarding several speedboats belonging to residents of the island. Since the February 23 jailbreak, a number of persons have been killed in bandit attacks in various parts of the country.