Middle Road businessman recalls Deepavali attack
By Edlyn Benfield
Stabroek News
November 6, 2002

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The Middle Road, La Penitence businessman whose house was attacked by five gunmen even as his family celebrated the Hindu festival of Deepavali, says he had a shoot-out with two of the bandits, one of who later died.

Police have formally identified the man shot dead in Middle Road, La Penitence on Monday night, as 26-year-old Kevin Marks called `Plain Clothes' of Sophia.

This was confirmed in a Police press release yesterday.

In an interview yesterday, the businessman said he was sharing out sweetmeats - in keeping with the traditions of the festival - to some neighbours across the road from his home at around 7:30 p.m., when he saw five strange men enter his gate.

The businessman said each of the men drew guns as they entered the yard and proceeded to order both his daughters; aged 8 and 3, a younger cousin, six other children and some family members who were standing there to "...go 'long upstairs."

Thereafter, the businessman recounted, one of the bandits ran up an inner stairway leading to the upper flat in his home while two stood guard at the bottom of the steps.

The other two remained in the yard ordering family members to go into the house.

According to the businessman, who is the licensed owner of a .32 pistol, he then crossed the road and opened fire on the two bandits in the yard and they ran to the back of the premises. He said he pursued them and continued shooting and both bandits returned fire.

The businessman said it appears both men were hit but they turned back and fled the yard. "I followed them and continued to shoot," the businessman recalled, adding they turned east into Middle Road. He said while Marks and his accomplice were fleeing, it became obvious that Marks was badly injured as his accomplice was forced to assist him. But when it appeared that Marks was collapsing, the other bandit left him at the side of the road and continued running.

While engaged in a shoot-out with Marks and his accomplice, the businessman heard his wife screaming for help. He said his wife told him afterward that she had gotten into a brief struggle with one bandit after she held onto his hand holding the gun.

The businessman said his wife related that after hearing the gunfire, the thief wriggled from her grasp and went to check on his accomplices who were keeping guard at the bottom of the steps. On seeing them still stationed there, he turned and ran back upstairs but by that time she pushed down a huge cabinet in the hall directly in front of the stairs, effectively blocking the bandit's path.

At that stage, he turned again and ran downstairs and he and the two who were standing guard escaped west into Hunter Street, Albouystown.

The businessman said some family members called the police and they responded promptly. When Stabroek News arrived on the scene on Monday night, a police vehicle was parked diagonally a short distance from Marks' body on Middle Road while several heavily armed policemen kept a large crowd gathered there at bay at both ends. Shortly after, crime scene investigators arrived and began collecting and documenting evidence.

The businessman said the police visited his home and took statements and photographs. He noted too that unlike a report carried in Kaieteur News, he was not indulging in a holiday drink at the time of the incident nor did he walk up to the bandit and "...finish him off." The businessman also showed Stabroek News where several broken diyas still lined the inner stairway. The cabinet was lying across the stairway just as was described and lighted diyas had scorched sections of the steps in the confusion.