Police, Army step up joint operations…
Shawn Brown, 2 others die in Prashad Nagar shootout
--- woman, 2 cops injured
by Shirwin Campbell
Guyana Chronicle
June 6, 2003

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WANTED man Shawn Browne and two others were killed in a shootout with a joint force of Police and Army ranks last evening, as the law enforcement agencies stepped up their operations against criminal elements across Guyana.

One of the other two has been identified as Delon George, Shawn Brown’s brother-in-law. The third man’s name has been given as Tony Singh, but a police statement last night said his true identity was still being ascertained.

The police also retrieved weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle, from the house.

The shootout converted residential Prashad Nagar into a ‘battle zone’ yesterday afternoon, as members of the Police Force and ranks from the Guyana Defence Force engaged in a running battle through several streets in the community.

Acting on a tip off, police swooped on the area, just a few feet from the Prashad Nagar police outpost, at 16:30 hrs.

Police in uniforms, plain-clothes and a few wearing black topes with only their eyes, noses and mouths visible, secured the perimeter from every vantage point they suspected the wanted men might be hiding.

According to one eyewitness, the ranks initially seemed to be unsure of the exact location of the bandits as they converged on the area.

The eyewitness, a visitor from a Caribbean country, related to the media that as the police fired women and children started screaming, scurrying to and fro in a state of panic - uncertain what to do or in which direction to go.

On the parameters residents trapped outside desperately tried to call home from cell phones to enquire of their welfare.

One man related to the Guyana Chronicle that he had just returned from work when a policeman on patrol ordered him to park away from the scene and try to make contact with his family by phone.

He pointed out that he was able to make contact and calm his family. He also instructed them to lie low.

Another man was desperately trying to call home since his handicapped son was home alone.

At approximately 17;05 hrs Brown, George and “Singh” were cornered in a house. Just then an intense gun battle erupted.

During the heavy exchange that was heard for miles around, at least two policemen were wounded. That forced the police to temporarily retreat.

It was during their retreat the gang reportedly split up, adopting the familiar tactic, “every man for himself”.

Shawn Browne, in a desperate effort to escape, exited the house and scaled the back fence into another yard.

Five minutes after 17:10 hrs. the Guyana Defence Force helicopter appeared, circling the area repeatedly, providing aerial surveillance.

Police maintaining the outer perimeters of the cordoned off area were hard pressed to keep the curious onlookers, numbering at least one hundred, at bay.

They would quickly disperse whenever the loud booming of gunshots reverberated across the community, only to reassemble after the shooting died down, oblivious of the danger.

At precisely 17:15 hrs. loud bursts of gunshots again rocked Prashad Nagar, this time accompanied by a brief shower.

Shortly after police in the inner arena of the battle zone could be seen waving and two police vehicles rushed into the cordoned off area. An injured rank was whisked away from the scene.

A few minutes later reinforcement was rushed to the scene as the helicopter continued to circle. Several jeep loads of soldiers took up strategic positions and quickly moved in as back-up to the policemen on the ground.

An injured female civilian was also placed in a vehicle and rushed to the hospital.

One plainclothes rank in a car was observed giving directions to the helicopter via a cell phone as it maneuvered for a closer view to pinpoint the location of the men in hiding.

After several swoops by the helicopter they were able to communicate with the soldiers on the ground as to their exact location.

A series of heavy exchanges erupted followed by an eerie silence, which was only broken by the news that the three men were killed. This quickly spread among the onlookers, who had by then swelled in numbers.

At 17:50 hrs., as the helicopter flying just a few feet over the housetops headed off in the direction of the GDF headquarters, many remained skeptical of the news until some ten minutes after, when the hearse exited with the bodies of the men. The crowd then surged forward in a bid to get a closer glimpse.

Media operatives who forced their way through the cordoned area were able to confirm that three men were dead - Shawn Browne, Delon George, Brown’s brother-in-law, and the man reputed to be Tony Singh.

GDF spokesman on the scene informed the media that two teenagers were apprehended.

He stated that the young women, aged 18 and 19, respectively, claimed that they were brought by a female friend who asked them to accompany her to visit her brother.

The 18-year-old gave her address as Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara, and the 19-year-old, a mother of one, said she resides in Norton Street, Georgetown. Both claim to be students of YWCA in Brickdam.

According to the spokesman, they claimed that the friend left them to get food.

They also claimed it was only then they noticed the wig but shortly after they heard gunshots and became afraid and hid in the bathroom.

They were, however, forced to beat a hasty retreat from that enclosure as bullets pierced the roof. One was wounded in her shoulder and taken to the hospital for treatment; the other was taken down to the station for questioning.

The house on Deobranana Street in Prashad Nagar, bore hundreds of bullet holes. Several holes in the yard indicated that the men launched grenades attacks. Also visible on the road was a pool of blood where one of the men fell.

At 18:00 hrs. police conducted a search of the building with the aid of flash lights and flood lights from a police vehicle.

Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj made a statement just after exiting Parliament last evening.

He said he understood that an 18-year-old female was hit in the crossfire in the region of her upper back and has been hospitalized.

Delon George was recently acquitted of the murder of Haraindra Nauth, the gas station owner at Unity on the East Coast of Demerara.

Shawn Brown, one of the five prisoners who escaped from the Georgetown penitentiary on February 23, 2002, was wanted for a series of murders, armed robberies and kidnappings.

Only three days earlier, a U.S. district court judge had issued an arrest warrant for Brown in connection with the kidnapping of U.S. diplomat Steve Lesniak on April 12 at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara.

The Minster hailed the operation as some degree of success achieved by the security forces, but noted in the process some policemen were shot and a civilian adult female suffered gun shots injuries in the cross fore.

The Minister, said he hoped the injuries are not serious and wished those injured speedy recovery.

He also congratulated the Police and encouraged them to continue the fight against crime noting that before long we should be able to restore our dear land to what we consider an accepted level of normalcy.

He also cautioned the criminals that if they live by the gun then the security forces will take all necessary steps taking regards to the principal of minimum force in any situation that may arise from time to time.

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