Dead men may have been searching for thieves
By Samantha Alleyne
November 6, 2002
Monday night's bloodbath that left five men dead at the corner of Robb and Light Streets may have been related to a burglary committed on one of the dead men over the weekend.
Those shot and killed are: Othneil Embrack called 'Agouti', 40 of 215 David & Lamaha Streets, Kitty; Derrick Torrington called 'Jack About'; Andrew Mc Pherson of 619, Toucan Drive, South Ruimveldt; 20-year-old Oliver Springer of 478, English Road, A Field Sophia; and a man who has only been identified as 'Buckman' and who is said to be in his late forties.
At the time of their deaths the men were travelling in two taxis belonging to Central Point (CP) Taxi Service which was owned by Embrack.
While details of the actual shooting continued to be sketchy it is understood that Embrack, Torrington and 'Buckman were in one of the cars, HB 174 while Mc Pherson and Springer were in the other car, PHH 1485.
A police press release yesterday said that the five were fatally shot at around 9:40 pm. It said that they were the occupants of two cars which stopped at the junction when the gunmen who were in another car which was proceeding east opened fire on them and drove away.
A police source yesterday said that they were examining the angle that the shooting incident was gang-related.
According to the source the two cars were driving north along Light Street when they stopped at the junction and came under gunfire.
However, this newspaper was told that the two cars were seen racing east along Robb Street just before the men were killed.
While bullet holes on the two cars were not visible on Monday night, the source said both the cars bore bullet holes, some of which suggested that gunshots were fired from inside the vehicles.
However, the source admitted that except for a magazine, and not a pistol as was earlier reported, the police found no weapons on any of the men. But the source suggested that the guns could have been removed from the scene by a number of persons who would have arrived on the scene before the police.
The source said seven .26 spent shells were found in the vehicle, HB 174, but nothing else incriminating or illegal was found in either vehicle.
Stabroek News was yesterday informed that Embrack owns a small boutique on Orange Walk which has the name, Cancer & Leo, and on Monday morning he discovered that it was broken into and a number of articles including clothes, sneakers and other items were stolen.
The man's teenage daughter, Simone, yesterday confirmed this report stating that her father was very angry over the theft.
She said her father, who also owns three mini buses, left home at around 9 p.m. after he received a call informing him where the persons who reportedly stole from him could be located.
This newspaper was told that, 'Buckman', who lives just at the back of Embrack's boutique in a concrete shack was manhandled by some of the other four men who were convinced that he would have known who stole the items. According to reports the men dealt 'Buckman' several blows which forced him to say that he knew where the thieve(s) lived and he was placed in one of the cars to take Embrack and his men to the alleged perpetrators.
Yesterday, when Stabroek News visited `Buckman's' home, a woman with whom he reportedly lived could shed no light on where the man was going or how he ended up in the taxi with Embrack and the others. She said she had left earlier in the afternoon and it was only yesterday morning she learnt of the man's death.
Embrack's daughter, who said her mother was too distraught to speak, said she could not think of any reason her father was killed saying that he was not involved in any illegal activities.
Stabroek News was told yesterday that McPherson left his home with a baseball bat which it was suspected he would have used on the alleged thieve(s) were they found.
The police were seen removing the baseball bat from one of the cars on Monday night.
At the home of Springer, who is the second of two children and a sales representative at Banks DIH, his parents, Albert and Desiree Springer, were trying to come to grips with their son's death. They only learnt of their son's death late yesterday afternoon. According to them he was the best friend of McPherson, also called `South Man' who was employed by Embrack as a taxi driver.
The young man's older brother Kurt, said the last time he saw his brother was on Saturday night when he left for Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara, to drop his girlfriend home. He said they were not worried when he did not return over the weekend since he sometimes slept at his cousin in the same village or at his grandmother. Kurt, who is also an employee of Banks DIH, said it was while he was at work yesterday afternoon that he learnt of his brother's death and later identified his body at the Lyken Funeral Home. The man's father, who is a Special Constable attached to the Supreme Court, said while he was at work persons asked him if someone for him had died and he denied it as he could never have guessed that his son was one of the persons killed in the shoot- out.
The family said they were told that Springer and McPherson were seen on the seawall "sporting" just before the shootings.
They are of the opinion that since Springer was not a person who was involved in any criminal activities that he was "just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
They said that Springer and McPherson, who was once employed with Banks DIH, grew up together and were friends from childhood days. His brother said after McPherson started working with Embrack he had warned him about keeping his company since they were suspicious of the work that was being done.
"A always warn he to stop liming with South Man, but he wan deh like a big boy and deh in car and dem things," his brother lamented yesterday. He said while McPherson owned a car he was not driving it at the time of his death.
Monday's killings came on the heels of the previous Monday's events when seven men were shot dead in a series of incidents that followed the escape of businessman Brahmanand Nandalall from his captors. Among those killed were two February 23 escapees Dale Moore and Mark Fraser.