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Police Constable 17657 Mark Yaw, 22, of Lot 26 'A', East La Penitence (behind the East La Penitence Police Station) is the fourth Policeman and fifth law enforcement officer to have been brutally and heinously gunned down in cold blood since the start of 2003.
Yaw was reportedly shot five times in his neck and jaw by one of three unknown criminals while travelling in a route 41 minibus en route to his workplace at the Brickdam Police Station where he was about to commence his 12:00 hrs work-shift that night.
Yaw was reportedly in plain-clothes at the time of the incident since relatives said he had left home a few minutes before the tragic incident with his police uniform in a bag, as was normal. He was also unarmed at the time.
A Police statement said Constable Yaw joined the minibus shortly before midnight on Mandela Avenue and sat in the left rear seat of the vehicle.
The three men joined the vehicle at Go-Slow and Mandela Avenue and while proceeding west along Croal Street, the men requested to be put off at Croal and Cummings Street.
According to the Police, the minibus stopped and the three men disembarked and proceeded to the rear of the vehicle where one of them reportedly whipped out a firearm and discharged several rounds at Yaw through the left rear window of the vehicle.
The Police said Yaw received five gunshot wounds to the left side neck and jaw and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Hospital.
Constable Yaw, who was born on January 1, 1980 joined the Guyana Police Force on April 17, 1998 and had just under five-years service.
It is understood that a passenger, Freddie Josie of 1837 Festival City, North Ruimveldt, was sitting to the right of Constable Yaw in the back seat of the minibus and he too received a gunshot wound.
Josie was shot on the left side of his body, above the hip and up to yesterday afternoon, he was in a critical but stable condition at the Georgetown Hospital.
"The Commissioner and other ranks of the Guyana Police Force wish to express sincere condolences to the immediate family and relatives of the slain Constable Yaw," the Police release said.
Less than two hours after the gunning down of Yaw, another Policeman, Bickram Rampersaud, had to be rushed to the Georgetown Hospital where he was admitted with multiple gunshot wounds. Up to press time yesterday, he was still admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital after receiving pellet shots to the right side of his chest.
The Police said that around 01:20 hrs yesterday morning, a policeman received gunshot wounds when gunmen in a dark coloured minibus opened fire on a Party of Policemen who were at the time investigating the alleged hijacking and subsequent discovery of motorcar HA 9220 at Flying Fish Street, North Ruimveldt.
The Police Party was at the scene where the hijacked car was discovered, when the dark coloured minibus was observed parked at the Exit of Festival City Street.
The Police said the ranks proceeded cautiously in an effort to make enquiries, when the bus suddenly drove off and the occupants discharged a hail of bullets in the direction of the Police, during which the Policeman (Rampersaud) was hit.
The ranks took cover and returned fire but the bus sped away, it said.
The Police said investigations are continuing.
Meanwhile, Yaw's death occurred a few hours after his colleague Policeman, Constable 18043 Nandkumar Mohabir was cremated. Mohabir, 25, was killed on Wednesday last when unknown gunmen opened fire on a Police mobile patrol in the Buxton, East Coast Demerara area. He was shot dead while driving a Police mobile patrol vehicle during Operation Saline Solution II, which the Army and Police launched in the area last Wednesday. Reports said that although he was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, a bullet from a high calibre weapon ripped through the officer's chest entering from the right side and exiting through the left.
Twelve Policemen and one CANU officer were killed from April to December 31 last year and four policemen and one CANU officer have already been brutally gunned down since the start of the new year as the crime scourge plaguing the country continues. So far 18 law enforcement officers have been killed, in the most unorthodox and heinous fashion, within the past 10 months.
Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj has, in a statement issued recently on these heinous killings of Policemen and law enforcement officers, said: “These brutal, murderous acts must only fortify the resolve of our police ranks as they combat the notorious criminals. Those who seek to criminalise our society by targeting our lawmen and terrorising innocent citizens, must know that the efforts of our law enforcement agencies will succeed in making our society safer.
Attempts by the criminals to cower our police ranks as they go about their duty - to protect and serve the people of Guyana- will surely be defeated.”
Observers have indicated that the wanton attacks on policemen and police stations/outposts have unleashed a campaign of terror on a populace already reeling from the effects of a spate of kidnappings - some deadly - murders and robberies which followed the escape from prison, almost a year ago, of five dangerous criminals.
The heinous murder of those for whom service and protection are watchwords, is a direct assault on law and order in the society and an attempt to demoralise members of the force who daily put their lives on the line.
Gajraj, the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Police Commissioner (ag), Mr. Floyd McDonald have all condemned the acts of police killings and attacks on policemen and have called for support for the law enforcement officers.
Said the PPP: “The consistent attacks on the police suggest that these assaults on the subjects of the law are well orchestrated. Further, these (are) direct attempts to undermine the democratic state by forces that want to revert to an undemocratic past.”
Gajraj had earlier stated that instead of being daunted, the members of the police force will “rededicate themselves in the name of their fallen brothers to carry that torch with distinction.”