Two feared drowned after confrontation with police in Linden
Stabroek News
April 8, 2003

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Two men are missing and feared drowned after reportedly being shot at by ranks of the Police E & F division in Linden following a robbery in the mining town.

The police yesterday only referred to one suspect who was apprehended after he jumped into the river.

Information reaching Stabroek News indicated that just after midnight yesterday a gang of armed men attempted to break into Lake's Electronic Store on Co-op Crescent, Mackenzie. According to the proprietor, shortly after 8 pm on Sunday, he noticed a large group of protestors erecting roadblocks along Co-op Crescent. "They were peaceful, but some rastas run into my business and the crowd started shouting at them to leave my store alone."

He said that one of the men pulled out a gun and fired shots into the air causing the protestors to run for shelter. He was in front of his business at the time, when the man came up to him, brandishing a gun and demanded the keys to the store. "I told him I ain't got no keys and he said I better get it or he gon shoot me." The businessman said that the bandits allowed him to go upstairs in order to get the keys. Once upstairs, he used the opportunity to summon the police. After delaying for some time, he came back downstairs and saw two of his brothers coming around the corner accompanied by some policemen. He noted that the police engaged the men in an exchange of gunfire and some were believed to have been hit.

According to the businessman, after the confrontation, the men ran over the road and in a bid to escape, jumped into the Demerara River, attempting to swim to the other shore. The police managed to capture the one who had confronted the businessman, while three others were believed to have been seriously wounded. Residents of the community said that one managed to make it to the other shore, but was chased back into the river by persons on the shore. The other two are feared drowned as there was evidence of blood in the river and persons keeping watch claimed not to see them rise after going down.

The businessmen said that while he was engaged by the one bandit, he had noticed the others hiding at the side of Richard's Cheap Corner, which was nearby. He said that they were urging the one bandit to shoot him because he had seen their faces. The bandits smashed the glass door - valued at over $180,000 - of the electronic store. They broke open a glass case just beyond the door and took out 3 cellphones, 2 discmans, 2 cordless phones and 7 watches. An external grill door prevented them from entering the building.

The police in a statement yesterday noted what it said was the "unwelcome trend of banditry in Linden. Referring to the attack on Lake's Electronic Store, the police said that a gang of around 12 men smashed the glass door and carried away cash, wristwatches and cell phones. The police said one suspect was apprehended after he jumped into the Demerara River. There was no reference in the police statement to the shooting of any other person.

The police further reported that on Sunday night, three British nationals and two Peruvians were robbed of US$300 and $500 by five men who had impersonated policemen. The incident occurred on Mabura Road in the vicinity of Wisroc while the visitors were on the way from Lethem.

The police also referred to Saturday's incident where the Courts Store on Republic Avenue, Linden was attacked by criminals and three chainsaws, a generator and a water pump were stolen.

The police said they have intensified patrols in the area and added that over the years the force had enjoyed the support and cooperation of the vast majority of residents of Linden. The force said it wished to "urge all law abiding citizens of that community to not allow a few who may be bent on carrying out their unlawful acts to rupture the harmonious relationship that has been nurtured over the years". (Cathy Wilson)

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