Gunmen kill hotel owner in Agricola
By Andre Haynes
May 13, 2003
The owner of a chain of hotels was shot dead last night outside his Agricola home by gunmen who afterwards shot at his terrified wife and daughter before escaping under the cover of darkness.
Byron Dick, 51, of 114 Caesar Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara, who is the owner of the Alpha Inter-national Hotel chain, died after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds to his head and his back. He was reportedly shot five times and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) at 8 pm.
According to reports reaching Stabroek News, the shooting occurred at about 7:45 pm, minutes after Dick driving a red fore-runner pulled into the driveway of his home.
Stabroek News was told that Dick’s assailants, reported to have numbered between two to three, had been waiting at the dam at the northern end of the street, just a few feet away from the driveway. The area was at the time in total darkness, as a result of a power outage.
Eyewitnesses said Dick pulled up into the driveway, disembarked the vehicle and opened his gate. He then returned to the vehicle at which time the men charged at him and opened fire at near point-blank range, shooting him to the back of the head and along the upper back region.
Stabroek News was told that Dick’s wife and daughter, who is just over one-year-old, also came under gunfire while they were standing on the verandah which overlooks the driveway entrance.
The gunmen are said to have relieved Dick of a number of personal articles, while he lay bleeding near the driveway.
The men fired off several shots at houses in the area before making their escape, north in the direction of the dam from where they came.
Sources told Stabroek News that Dick was left with a substantial quantity of jewellery on his person while his gun was said to have been stolen.
When Stabroek News arrived on the scene, nearly an hour after the incident, the police had still not turned up while neighbours converged near a pool of blood which was on the driveway, a reminder of what had transpired earlier in the night.
Dick’s wife, Merlene Todd, who was in deep mourning over her husband’s death, and his daughter, were taken to a relative’s home where they were being comforted by family members and friends.
Residents of the area were meanwhile both angered and outraged by the incident, which sent many of them scrambling for cover as the gunshots rang out from the darkened street. Dick owned hotels on Camp Street and South Street and at Agricola and Ogle.
Dick is the second businessman to be killed in a week following the death of Genda Kenneth Sookdeo, the Little Diamond businessman who was shot dead by bandits last Wednesday outside his restaurant and liquor store.
In early March, a 17-year-old Chinese national, Su Zhi Wei, was shot dead in Agricola by a gunman not far from Dick’s premises.