Gunmen shoot at taxi driver, narrowly miss schoolgirl
By Kim Lucas
October 10, 2002
Two gunmen opened fire on a taxi driver yesterday, narrowly missing a little girl, in a failed bid to rob a Lusignan taxi service.
The early morning attack came as sections of the business community launched a two-day crime shutdown.
Stabroek News understands that prior to the 9:30 am attack on `Mohan's' taxi service, two men on a motorcycle were seen scouting the area. The business is owned and operated by Ganesh and Vidiawattie Persaud.
Mrs. Persaud, who was operating as a dispatcher at the time, told this newspaper that she spotted the two men at about 9:30 am as they rode past the business premises and turned back.
The men stopped in front of the service and one dismounted the motorcycle and tried to open the locked gate. Upon seeing that, the businesswoman said she asked one of her drivers, Lakhram, to "go and ask the person what is his problem?"
Lakhram said when he reached the gate, the man whipped out a gun from beneath his jersey and told him, "Don't move!" But the 32-year-old Lakhram sprinted to the back of the yard, prompting the gunman to discharge a round after him.
The bullet hit one of the cars in the yard, HA 8853, instead, missing a nursery school child by mere inches.
"The li'l girl was braced to the car when the first bullet hit the car...Like the shock, she keep saying something wrong with she elbow," Mrs. Persaud recalled.
By this time, the Persauds had dashed for cover and the child and her grandmother were left standing dumbstruck.
"She alone lef' here with she grandchild...She [had taken] the child to school and there wasn't plenty students ... so she just come back with the child and went gaffing. When we escaped, she [the grandmother] alone left standing," the woman explained.
As everyone ran for cover, Mrs. Persaud said the second man dismounted and, together with his accomplice, rocked the gate until it opened. Once inside the yard, the first gunman ran after the taxi-driver firing two more shots, while the second bandit accosted a neighbour and asked her for the money.
"They asked the lady where the money is? The lady tell them that she is not living here...He [Lakhram] had he cell phone and chain on the railing and they pick it up. By that time, everybody on the back street start hollering fo `Thief!' and they jump on back of their bike. While going, [another] lady (Dolemattie Ramkirpaul) start hollering and they fire two bullets over at her."
Ramkirpaul, who is the Persauds' other neighbour, told Stabroek News that she rushed out of her shop upon hearing the gunshots next door. At the same time, the gunmen were passing her and opened fire. She dived for cover behind an old van in her yard and escaped being shot.
"When they [the bandits] shot, everybody look up. Some people sit and left dumbstruck and some run behind the house," the woman said. Ramkirpaul said an army patrol subsequently turned up and retrieved the bullets from her yard, which, she said, were the length of her small finger. "It shine and it fat just like me finger."
But the woman said the police were not interested.
"I went over there [at the Persauds] and told them [the police] that they had three bullets over here, the police did not come." She said the law enforcers did not take her statement either. Meanwhile, the Persauds', who had been operating the taxi service for the past four years, are considering closing the business.
"We just feel like closing down the business, because we are not safe...the crime rate now making we hardly work. Just last week, they [bandits] attempted to go into a house [opposite]," the businesswoman stated.