Bandits kill driver
Johnny ‘P’ robbed of cash By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
October 1, 2002

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Gun-toting bandits shot a taxi driver dead last night and escaped in his car after robbing the Johnny `P’ Supermarket, Snackette and Western Union Cambio on Aubrey Barker Street during a blackout.

Dead is Gavin Joseph of Joseph Pollydore Street, Lodge. At the time of his demise he was driving a bronze Corolla, HB 114. Up to press time the car had not been found.

However, another car which may have been used in the same robbery was recovered by the police on Takuba Road, Meadow Brook about an hour after the shooting and robbery took place at South Ruimveldt Park at around 7:10 p.m.

The proprietor of supermarket, John Pires, popularly known as Johnny `P’ told Stabroek News he could not quantify how much money was stolen but said that it was substantial. All the money from the supermarket, the Western Union Cambio and the snackette was taken.

One of the employees told this newspaper that three bandits entered the supermarket with guns and told the patrons to lie on the floor while firing shots in the air. They demanded that they empty their pockets and to hand over cell phones. The patrons complied without any resistance.

A shaken eyewitness said that he was “lying just outside the shop on (his) belly, too frighten to move” when the men dashed out and rushed to Joseph’s car which was passing the supermarket at the time. He did not hear any orders but it was obvious, he said that the driver offered some resistance and was shot in his head. The men then pushed his body out of the car where it lay for about two hours on the road. He said there was a person in the car at the time of the carjacking but he did not know whether it was a man or a woman. He heard screaming. Three other persons who were in the vicinity said that they also heard screaming but it was the voice of a woman they heard. They were not sure whether it was coming from the car or from someone who had witnessed what had happened.

The man said that as soon as the men jumped into the car and drove west on Aubrey Barker Street making a turn into Congress Drive, a white car sped after it. The white car had been seen parked earlier just east of Johnny P and is believed to have contained accomplices of the bandits.

When Stabroek News arrived on the scene, the proprietor had not yet arrived and the staff had locked themselves into the supermarket only allowing the police to enter as a crowd gathered outside the building. The body remained on the road for some two hours before it was eventually removed.

A few persons who had also seen a number of live rounds on the ground alerted the police to them and the police picked them up.

Pires spoke with the media as the staff was not willing to relate what had occurred. They said they were too traumatised to speak.

Even though police were tightlipped about the car found in Meadow Brook last evening, a source told Stabroek News that the police had trailed the white car, a Corolla with the number plate PFF 5280 from South Ruimveldt. At the side of the car were the words `Not an easy ride’.

An eyewitness to the Meadow Brook interception told Stabroek News that he had just disembarked from a mini-bus on Takuba Road when the white car came to a screeching halt, the two front doors burst open and three men came out hurriedly. Only a minute or so before three other persons had also come off the bus with him at the same time. One of the three men who came out of the car, he said, pointed a gun at him demanding to know “whey Joylyn or Joycelyn dey”. He did not reply because he was dumbstruck but he recalled trying to “lean back on the bus”. By that time, the bus had already moved off. Then there was a burst of gunshots apparently from the police and the gunmen escaped into the darkness.

The eyewitness said that one of the female mini-bus passengers jumped into the nearby trench and another hid behind a tree to escape the firing.

He said that when the firing started he hit the ground at the side of the road. Within seconds, he said, a policeman was standing over him pointing a big gun. He shouted out his name telling them not to shoot him. Another policeman, he said, was aiming at the trench where the woman was and he shouted to them not to shoot telling them it was a woman. He said the police told him to “just get out of here” and he got up and hurried to a house in the immediate vicinity.

The robbery and the killing of the driver are the latest in a string of crimes since February 23 when five men escaped from the Camp Street jail. (Additional reporting by Andre Haynes)