Shooting of three cops
'Hijacked' driver detained in probe
President, police in meeting
Stabroek News
August 14, 2002

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A man who claimed to have been hijacked just before three Impact Base cops were shot by unknown gunmen on Monday night was up to last night still being detained by the police.

The man told police that he was driving motor car, HB 93, along D'Urban Street at about 9 pm when two men held him up with a gun, bound him and locked him in the vehicle's trunk. He claimed to have later heard gunshots.

Constables Lochan Kobeer, Delroy Lewis and Mark Joseph were heading back to Impact Base at the Brickdam Police Station in a patrol vehicle at around 9:30 pm and were opposite the Ministry of Home Affairs on Brickdam, when a white car passed and its occupants opened fire on them.

The three wounded cops were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where they underwent emergency surgery. By press time last night, they were in stable condition. The police vehicle was reportedly riddled on the right side.

As the pressure continued to build for the government and the police to act decisively to capture the criminals terrorising the country, President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday met with the force's Top Brass to review the anti-crime campaign. Press Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud told Stabroek News last evening that the meeting at which Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj, Police Commissioner, Floyd McDonald and Deputy Commissioner, Winston Felix were present is one of several President Jagdeo has been having. He added that a meeting between the President and senior officers of the army, police and the Secretary of the Defence Board was held on Monday. The President is to hold a press conference today. Stabroek News understands that the detained driver told the police that after hearing gunshots, the car was driven quickly for a while and he later heard nothing. He freed himself and realising that he was in the Kitty-Campbellville area, drove the abandoned car to the East La Penitence Police Station, where he was subsequently held.

The police, in a release said the car used in the latest cop assault was found abandoned in William Street, Campbellville, Georgetown on Monday night. According to the statement, it is suspected that the vehicle was hijacked at about 9 pm on Monday from a taxi driver in Rasville, South Ruimveldt.

In the wake of Monday night's shooting, sources said ranks at Impact Base protested the lack of certain protective gear and equipment. One rank from the Brickdam precinct told Stabroek News that the cops were on a "go slow", but Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine yesterday said this was never the case.

"There was none of that at Brickdam. What happened was, for a brief period, a number of ranks assembled to meet with the Commissioner to speed up the process of (supplying) protective gear," the police spokesman stated.

In the wake of Monday night's attack, the Police Association issued a statement yesterday calling for risk allowance for those cops whose lives are endangered every day.

Monday night's attack was the second such drive-by shooting aimed at members of the force in the last 48 hours. Last Saturday night, another cop was shot outside Club Nite Life on Camp Street.

The Police Association strongly condemned the attacks and called on civil society to do likewise.

"The police force, in its effort to suppress crime and maintain law and order, is dependent on the support of all law abiding citizens to efficiently and effectively discharge this mandate. Therefore, it is important that members of civil society voice their concern by condemning these attacks on law enforcement officers...[The Association is] of the view that the time has come for the authorities to give serious consideration to the payment of a risk allowance to members of the force who are under constant and violent attack by criminal elements."

While thanking members of the public who assisted the injured cops on Monday night, the Police Association maintained that these attacks on members of the force are, in fact, attacks on their families who are members of civil society, and on the force as a whole.

The body said all must work together to send a strong message to the criminals that these attacks will not deter members of the Force from discharging their mandate.

Since April, eight policemen have been shot and killed and several others injured. To date, no one has been arrested and charged in the spate of cop shootings. The crime wave in the country escalated with the February 23 break-out from jail by five men and since then, there has been a series of violent robberies and killings. In most cases, the assailants hijack vehicles to perpetrate the attacks. (Kim Lucas)