East Coast terror
Gunmen try to kill traffic cop
September 25, 2002
In less than 24 hours, gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in Buxton, tried to kill a traffic cop injuring a commuter instead, and robbed a lumberyard and a home.
Around 11:00 pm on Monday several gunshots rang out in the vicinity of Church of God Road, Buxton when a police mobile patrol with five ranks was fired upon by unknown gunmen. No one was injured, but according to a police press release one bullet struck the left front door of the vehicle while another struck the front fender mirror, causing it to break off completely. An informed source in Buxton told this newspaper that he was in the vicinity at the time and heard the gunshots, but at first thought these were explosive devices. According to the source, who also has military expertise, the police ranks were travelling west on the public road and the gunmen were hiding not too far from a bus shed on the Church of God Public Road.
Public Relations Officer of the GPF, Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine, told this newspaper that the vehicle, which the police ranks were travelling in, was not the regular open-back type and this might have saved them from injury. Stabroek News understands that after being fired upon the police officers took evasive action and quickly sped out of the village.
Yesterday morning on the Friendship Public Road, gunmen fired four shots at a traffic cop who was riding on a motorcycle and in the process wounded a commuter in a mini-bus. The rank was not injured but had to dodge the bullets and manoeuvre through busy traffic. A GPF release stated that at around 0900 hrs yesterday the traffic cop was passing through Buxton, while on traffic duties. The release said that as the rank was about to overtake a minibus in the vicinity of Friendship, unknown assailants fired four gunshots at the rank, who took cover among other moving vehicles. The release further stated that after the shooting, it was discovered that two vehicles, including the one the cop was trying to overtake and a motorcycle, were hit with gunshots. An occupant of the minibus received a gunshot wound in the region of his back and the right door of a car was damaged. The release said that the injured person was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital. A police source indicated that he was in a stable condition.
Later yesterday morning, around 10:45 am, a lumber dealer got the scare of his life when two armed motorcycle thieves accosted him inside his business premises at Melanie Damishana and relieved him of a sizeable sum of cash. Looknauth Persaud who operates his lumberyard inside the recently closed down Melanie cinema said it was the third time since August this year that he had been robbed. He told this newspaper that in all of the other robberies large sums of cash were taken and the bandits had always struck during the day.
Relating his plight, the businessman said that he along with eight of his employees were in the open yard when the bandits rode in on motorcycles.
Looknauth acknowledged that his business was open to the public and as such it was not strange for two men to enter. He said that he was standing just under an overhead gutter while his employees were a little way off from him. According to the lumber dealer, the bandits rode around them as they entered the yard pretending as if they were there to do business. He said that they then dropped their motorcycles and pounced on him. "Dis is the f.....g man," one bandit said referring to him and the other joined in demanding, "that he tek out all de money". Looknauth said he willingly obliged to the bandits' request and as soon as he gave them all the money he had in his pocket they both jumped on their cycles and rode away heading west on the public road.
The matter was reported at the Vigilance Police Station and officers there responded quickly, Loooknauth said. The businessman feels that the constant robberies he has been subjected to would harm his business, as customers would be afraid to visit his lumberyard.
Meanwhile, bandits positively identified as residents of Buxton later attacked an Annandale family robbing them of some $300,000 in cash and jewellery, before firing their guns in the air and fleeing. The attack occurred around 1:30 pm and lasted for a little over five minutes. Deodat Beepat, an occupant of the home located at 21 Church Street Annandale, spoke to Stabroek News only minutes after the robbery. He said he along with his father, Beepat Sr and two other friends - one of whose name was given as Jerry - were at the back of the yard drinking when the bandits struck. Deodat said they were taking a few drinks in celebration of his father's birthday. According to him, while enjoying a bottle of vodka, he heard the barking of his dog at the front gate. "So I asked Jerry to check to see what was going on."
Deodat related that Jerry got up but as he was going to the gate, he saw a man jump over the fence. He said he got up to see what was happening, but suddenly five gunshots were fired in the air and with that he abandoned the table with the drinks and ran into a neighbour's yard leaving behind his elderly father and another friend. He said he ran through the neighbour's yard on to the street and began to shout, "Tief! tief! tief".
Deodat said while he was running, more shots were fired behind him, but he continued to shout for "tief".
Picking up the account from Deodat, Jerry recounted that as Deodat was fleeing, two of the bandits entered the house while a third placed him to lie face down, with a gun butt to his face and the other guarded the old man. He said two of the men went into the house and plundered everything and after staying upstairs for about six minutes they returned and with the other fled into Buxton. No one was seriously injured during the raid, but Jerry sustained a light swelling to his forehead as a result of the gun butt injury. When Stabroek News visited, the family home was in a mess; the television set had been thrown on the floor. Deodat estimated his losses at around $40,000, while his sister, Dharam Kumarie who lost several pieces of jewellery and cash estimated her loss to be in the region of $50,000. Deodat's nephew, Balkrishna Persaud who operates a jewellery establishment in Georgetown suffered more, since the bandits pillaged a quantity of gold jewellery that he had made for people, along with cash. He estimated his losses to be in the region of $260,000. The police were called in soon after the gunmen fled and they took a report from the occupants. Also, members of the Guyana Defence Force mobile patrol visited the family and up to late yesterday afternoon they were in the area. The police recovered several spent shells. During the past month Annandale has been under constant siege from bandits.