Dharm Shala trying to calm residents following shooting

Stabroek News
December 2, 2002

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After two of its residents were shot and injured on Friday night, the management of the Dharm Shala is now trying to calm those who live there, explaining to them that there was not a direct attack of the establishment.

Early Friday evening, gunmen opened fire on a group of men standing at the corner of King Edward and James Streets, Albouystown, killing 25-year-old Selwyn Pollydore, of 153 Middle Road La Penitence and Seon Forde, 24 of Howes Street Charlestown.

Also wounded in that attack were, Treston Talbot, 26, of Princes Street, Wortmanville and Herman Pillai and Gita Singh of the Dharm Shala, King Edward and Sussex streets. Singh has since been discharged from the hospital.

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, Pamela Ramsaroop, whose father Harry Ramsaroop is the administrator of the home, said that the residents of the home for the indigent were terrified after the shooting especially since Singh and Pillai were wounded.

According to her the two on hearing the rapid gunfire decided that they wanted to see what was happening.

"They were just curious so they went to the gate and stood up there to get an idea as to what was happening," she said.

At the time, Singh was standing behind Pillai so she was not seriously injured. The two were standing inside of the gate when the gunmen on running past fired shots in their direction, injuring them. "He (Pillai) was looking at them running past and she was standing behind him when the shots were fired," Ramsaroop said.

She said after the shooting subsided someone called over to her father informing them that the two were injured. She said she first contacted the ambulance but it was not there and she then called the Impact Police who were instrumental in sending the ambulance about ten minutes after her call. The injured were then taken to the hospital.

According to her, the residents were not only terrified but they were also amazed that something like that happened. The woman, who lives abroad but visits every year for a few months to assist her father, said she herself was amazed as she has read about shootings and such like but nothing had happened so close to her before.

"This is an eighty-one-year-old institution and never had something like this happened before. I hope to never see something like that again," the woman said yesterday.

She said after the shooting, the residents were very worried and her father had to talk to them at length to explain that it was not a direct attack on their home.

She pointed out that the home was in a very depressed area and perhaps something like last Friday's shooting would happen once in a lifetime. She was thankful that no one else was hit and that both persons are still alive. She described Pillai as a very "helpful little fella."

A senior police officer yesterday told this newspaper that police have taken one man into custody based only on suspicions and "nothing concrete". He said that they are working on a number of theories and have the names of several persons who might be able to assist them in their investigation.

Reports are that the attack could have been as a result of an earlier robbery in the area when residents accosted two men who had held up a young woman. The robbery reportedly prompted residents to intervene and some persons told the alleged attackers "You all can't come in Albouystown and rob people." A firearm was also reportedly taken away from one of the robbers by someone in the group who had gone to retrieve the woman's items.

The gunmen, one of whom was said to have had a pump-action shotgun, parked their car on Sussex Street before walking to King Edward Streets towards the junction and firing upon the men. It was on their return to the car that they opened fire on the home for the indigent. (Samantha Alleyne)

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