Conductor of ambushed minibus dies from wounds
February 24, 2003
The conductor of the minibus attacked by bandits on Saturday night at Buxton died from his gunshot wounds early yesterday morning.
The death of Shawn Semple, 20, of Victoria Village, East Coast Demerara followed that of police sergeant, Walton Brummell of Melanie Damishana who was shot and killed the same night.
Another man, Biko Edwards, was also shot in the incident. He was up to press time listed as critical and under police guard at the hospital with gunshot wounds to his head.
According to a report from the Guyana Police Force, at about 7.30 pm, Brummell was sitting in the front seat of the minibus which plies the 44 route and is named "Due Process." Semple was the conductor of the minibus which had just re-loaded and was heading in the direction of the city when three men flagged it down in the vicinity of Company Road, Buxton. The police release said that Semple opened the door at which time two of the three men entered the general passenger area while the third proceeded to the front left hand side of the vehicle. This man pushed his hands through the window and snatched a gold chain from around Brummell's neck. Stabroek News understands earlier in the evening Brummell had returned home from work and had collected his jewellery and was heading back to the city.
According to a source Brummell, who was armed with his service revolver had remained very calm while two of the bandits were robbing passengers at the back of the bus.
The police yesterday said when the bandit grabbed the officer's chain a scuffle ensued between them at which time the man fired one round at Brummell who returned fire.
With Brummell and the bandit injured, the driver jumped out of the vehicle and lay on the ground. By then the two bandits in the back had finished relieving the passengers of their valuables. According to the police while the driver was lying on the ground the two men came out and rushed to the driver's side of the vehicle, turned off the ignition and snatched the key.
Stabroek News was told by a source that it was during this period, Semple who was carrying a large sum of cash in his hand was commanded to hand it over. But he was urged by the wounded Brummell not to hand over the money. The two other bandits became enraged by the officer's pleadings and fired two rounds to his temple. According to an eyewitness the officer fell out of the minibus and made an attempt to run, but soon after he collapsed on a nearby bridge. On seeing this Semple tried to escape, but was followed by one of the bandits who pump-ed three bullets into him. He too fell on the ground.
The police said that a Guyana Defence Force patrol which was in the area at the time was attracted to the sound of gunshots and responded to the scene. On arrival both Semple and Brummell were lying on the ground along with Edwards and were escorted to the hospital. The GDF patrol recovered Brummell's firearm. The police also said one of the two men who escaped is suspected to have sustained gunshot wounds. When Stabroek News visited the slain cop's home yesterday, his only son Adeyinka Brummell described his father as a very loving person who had spent a lot of time with him and his sister. Semple's parents were not home when Stabroek News visited, but one of his brothers, Joseph Semple was particularly critical of a Kaieteur News report which had reported him as being armed with a gun. Joseph said since his brother had left the army he was always gainfully employed. He said his brother at no time had a gun. Several residents of both Victoria and Melanie criticised the army, saying that despite their presence citizens were continuing to be robbed and killed at Buxton.
An army patrol is stationed about 30 metres from where the men were killed, but instead of standing on the road the armed ranks are usually seen seated in a pick-up in a side street. There is a shop directly in front of the army patrol which prevents their view of many things.
Brummell was originally from Dartmouth Village, Essequibo. He joined the police force on September 6, 1976. He was last stationed at the Tactical Services Unit. The policeman leaves to mourn two children and his wife who lives overseas. Semple was an ex-soldier who had begun working as a conductor. He leaves to mourn his parents Randolph and Denise Semple and nine siblings.