Mystery continues to surround the death of notorious wanted man Andrew Douglas whose body was found in a hijacked car at Farm, East Bank Demerara early Monday morning.
Prior to the discovery of his body, the same car, bearing licence plate PEE 2947, was spotted on Sheriff Street, Georgetown at about 1:05 am Monday, just before a shootout. Up to press time last night, the authorities were still unable to supply details.
Speculation was rife, though, that the fugitive might have been "finished off" by his own accomplices after being wounded in the Sheriff Street gunfight.
The police said gunshot wounds were found on the body and that they were trying to ascertain how the dead man came by the wounds. Sources say Douglas sustained wounds to the back and chest.
Although revellers on Sheriff Street told this newspaper that they saw the police and a carload of men engaged in a shootout at about 1:05 am on Monday, the Police Public Relations Department said later that day that members of the force were not involved, and that the shooting was "gang related".
On Monday, several persons reported seeing the Toyota Carina motor car, which is registered to a Natasha Gonsalves and said to have been hijacked on August 18, at about 3 am on the road leading to the New GPC. But it was not until several hours later, that a young woman made the grisly discovery on her way to work.
Stabroek News understands that the young woman spotted Douglas' body in the back seat of the car and called her mother, who, in turn, called the police. The police reported receiving the call about a dead man at about 6:13 am.
Earlier reports reaching this newspaper were that at 1:05 am, Douglas and four other men, suspected to have included other February 23 escapees, were together at a nightspot on Sheriff Street.
Two of the men were in the gold coloured Toyota Carina, which was parked in Sheriff Street, close to Drury Lane. Sources said some men in the area recognised the escapees and approached the vehicle, but three other men entered the car hurriedly and opened fire on those approaching. Stabroek News understands that there was an exchange of gunfire as the car sped away.
Hours later, Douglas' body was removed from the vehicle as curious onlookers swarmed the area. Piles of blood-soaked sheets were taken from the car, as well as a black bag containing items of clothing and another with medical supplies.
Douglas was imprisoned awaiting trial for what police at the time had said were a series of robberies in association with Linden 'Blackie' London. Following the escape of the five on February 23 and the subsequent killing of Police Superintendent, Leon Fraser in April, there has been an upsurge of crime in the country.
During his time on the run, the fugitive produced a videotape recording in which he made several allegations. That tape was shown on a popular television newscast. He appeared in the clip dressed in what appeared to be military fatigues and holding a submachine gun in one hand. He claimed, among other things, that he was wrongfully labelled a criminal.
Douglas' death came just over six months after he and four other inmates violently broke out of the Camp Street jail, during which a prison officer, 21-year-old Troy Williams was killed, and another, Roxanne Winfield, was badly injured.
Still at large following the February 23 jailbreak are Troy Dick, Dale Moore, Shawn Brown and Mark Fraser.
At the least, observers say that the discovery of Douglas' body in the hijacked car with bullet wounds establishes a nexus between him and the spate of crimes that has been occurring. In a number of these, witnesses had said that they recognized him. There had also been numerous reports that Douglas and other escapees had been seen freely roaming Buxton and other places in the city including Sheriff Street where he was injured in the shootout. Why the police had not been able to apprehend or engage him was a question being asked yesterday. Though he had claimed not to be in the country at the time he made his controversial videotape, sources say he most likely was always in the country with his other fellow escapees.