Soldier, two gunmen die in Buxton raid
Police had been searching for kidnapped businessman
May 16, 2003
A Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Lance Corporal and two men were killed early yesterday morning during a shoot-out in Buxton after a patrol had approached a home where they suspected a kidnapped Mahaica businessman was being held.
Dead are Lance Corporal Shemton Dodson, 24, of Paradise Village, West Coast Berbice, wanted man Mark Anthony Phillips called ‘Big Batty Mark’, and a third man identified only as ‘Chinee’. According to reports, Dodson was a member of a GDF patrol, which was supporting the police in a cordon and search exercise in the troubled East Coast Demerara village when the incident occurred.
Dodson who joined the army in 1996 is the first soldier to be killed since the army began supporting police in operations in the village which has been the scene of endless murders, kidnappings and highway robberies over the past year.
Information from the army’s Public Relations and Education Department stated that Dodson was fatally shot at about 2:15 am while the raiding party was at the corner of Barnwell Street and Church of God Road, Buxton.
The police revealed that the operation was based on information that kidnapped businessman Viticharan Singh, of De Hoop Mahaica, was being held in a house in Buxton. (See other story on page one.) However, the man was not found in the house.
“The shooting occurred when members of a GDF patrol, which was part of a joint GDF/GPF operation, were fired upon by three unidentified males. The patrol returned fire killing two of the gunmen, while the third escaped.
The injured GDF rank was immediately rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival,” the army stated.
Sources said as the joint military party approached the house in which they suspected Singh was being held, a man emerged from the darkness and started shooting. After that a gunman was reportedly shot and two others who were lying in the bushes emerged and continued the assault.
Reports state that an AK-47 assault rifle, fitted with a retractable butt and three magazines with 92 live rounds (7.62x39), were recovered from the scene. It reportedly belonged to one of the dead civilians.
The police said Phillips had been deported from Cayenne, French Guiana in 1999 and was wanted in connection with a series of murders of policemen and civilians, as well as a series of armed robberies.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Office of the President yesterday said Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Bharrat Jagdeo, has been briefed on yesterday’s tragedy and extended sincere condolences to the relatives, friends and colleagues of L/Cpl Dodson.
“The President notes the bravery and commitment to duty of this soldier in confronting the criminals operating out of Buxton. It is apposite to recall that Lance Corporal Dodson is the most recent member of the security forces to have died at the hands of criminals,” the release stated.
It further stated that the Commander-in-Chief observed that L/Cpl Dodson’s death is another timely reminder of the grave dangers the loyal and hardworking members of the security forces face in maintaining law and order and preserving the security of each and every Guyanese. Jagdeo is currently on a five-day visit to Russia.