Police involved in death of two brothers, says family
-No comment because incident still under investigation, say police
August 3, 2003
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Lennox Baker is believed to have been the primary target of the shooting, which relatives allege may have been motivated by recent disputes he had with two police officers.
When contacted yesterday Police Spokesperson Inspector John Sauers said he could not comment on the issue, and reiterated that the incident was still under investigation.
The brothers, both of Farm, East Bank Essequibo, died on Friday morning after they were shot aboard a Route 32 minibus, BHH 8685, as they were making their last trip to Parika. Lennox, the older brother at 45, was shot in the neck, while 35-year-old Ron was shot in the left eye.
The shooting occurred at approximately 1:45 am when they had stopped to allow a passenger to disembark.
A police press statement yesterday said that the shooting was done by a lone assailant who was “unidentifiable.”
According to the statement, Lennox Baker, the driver of the bus, was proceeding west along the public road when he came to a stop to allow the passenger to disembark. At this point, police said, the gunman approached from the rear of the bus and discharged two rounds, hitting both the driver and his brother who was conducting the minibus at the time.
Other reports of the shooting, however, suggest that the gunman was assisted by another man.
Stabroek News understands that there were at least three passengers in the bus at the time of the shooting, two seated in the carriage of the bus, and another in the front seat, near the driver.
Reports say that as the passenger came out of the bus, one man approached from the driver’s side and another from the conductor’s side and each opened fire simultaneously. The windows of the minibus were closed at the time of the shooting and the pane next to the conductor’s seat was shattered by a bullet, suggesting an assailant had approached from that side.
After the shooting, Lennox Baker lay dead in the front seat, next to a passenger who is now nursing a bullet graze. The other two passengers, who had believed that a robbery was in progress, fled the bus, leaving Ron Baker bleeding on a seat. After police were summoned to the scene he was rushed to the Best Hospital for treatment and died at about 5:00 am shortly after he was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Edna Baker says that three weeks ago her son Lennox had been threatened by an officer stationed on the West Coast of Demerara. On a day when the minibus was already full he had refused to give the policeman a lift and a confrontation ensued between the two men as a result. The confrontation culminated in the officer pulling his weapon on Baker who she said subsequently made a report to the Divisional Commander based at Leonora Police Station. Two weeks ago, her son was again involved in a confrontation with a policeman, during which he was allegedly assaulted. On this occasion Baker made a report to the Brickdam Police Station and also lodged a report with the Police Complaints Authority, his mother recalled. Although former Chancellor of Judiciary, Cecil Kennard, who heads the Authority, could not be reached to verify this information, Baker’s wife also confirmed that her husband had lodged a complaint.
The mother said that at the scene where her sons had been shot she encountered the officer who had pulled the gun on Lennox three weeks ago.
For the woman this incident invokes memories of another son, Charles Baker, who was fatally shot by a policeman in October 1995.
In that instance she recalls that nothing came of the police investigations and she is hoping that this will not be the case here.
“I need justice for my two sons and I want the authorities to look into this matter... I call on [them] because this is a real injustice.”
Lennox Baker, according to his wife Gillian Jessamy, was only a man trying to eke out a living for his family, working both day and night to make ends meet.
She last saw her husband alive on Thursday afternoon when he made an impromptu stop at their home to deliver groceries. He told her then he would be working nights, a routine he preferred so as to avoid policemen whom he said were constantly harassing him.
At about 2:00 am on Friday morning she was visited by her husband’s niece who told her that he had been involved in an accident. Half an hour later she was again contacted, only this time she was told that there had been a murder. She rushed to the scene where she found her husband.
“I just know that my husband was not a bandit. I know he was not a drug pusher, he was a very hard worker... If you see the place we live in, you know we are trying to make a life,” said Jessamy.
“He was a very nice man, he was very nice to me. You ask anybody in the neighbourhood about him, I just can’t understand....”
Up to yesterday the minibus was still parked in the yard of Edna Baker’s home.
The driver and passenger seats are still stained crimson from her sons’ blood. Standing on a stoop overlooking the vehicle, Baker’s two-year-old son pointed a finger at the place where his father had died