Police come under fire at Coldingen
-barking dog tips off gunmen
Stabroek News
December 10, 2003

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Police came under heavy gunfire on Monday evening during a failed bid to capture five gunmen who have been terrorising residents of Coldingen, East Coast Deme-rara.

From all indications the men who opened fire were the same ones that had attacked families in the same area last Wednesday evening.

A release from the Police Public Relations Office cast the blame on a barking dog which it stated had alerted the five men to the police's presence.

The release added that the police were on a mobile patrol when they were alerted by residents to five suspicious-looking men in the area of Pump Dam, Coldingen Housing Scheme.

The release said the police immediately laid an ambush along the dam that the men were approaching, however, a barking dog alerted the five men who opened fire on the ranks at which time the police returned fire but the men ran away in the direction of Buxton.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday a resident of Coldingen said it was around 8:05 pm when members of an active community policing group in the area spotted the men crawling behind a house on Pump Dam.

The resident said the men had to cross at least two trenches to get on the dam. Stabroek News was told that at the time of the incident most of the residents had already closed their doors and were in bed.

"Nobody ain't walkin too late in dis place any more since the robbery last week."

The resident said the men were behind a house on Lot 20 when members of the community policing group, who were camping out a little distance away, saw them.

He recalled that one of the members immediately left the camp and ran to the Coldingen Housing Scheme where a police patrol was staked out.

The officers, according to the resident, responded immediately on foot, and positioned themselves at the corner of a fence, laying in wait for the five men who were about to approach one of the houses.

It was at this point a dog in the Lot 20 yard began to bark causing the gunmen to see the officers also exposed by the moonlight.

"As soon as the dog bark all I hear was bang, bang coming from the direction of the dam and then I see de men dem running away."

The resident said the police returned fire and gave chase behind the fleeing gunmen, who turned back occasionally and fired more shots.

According to the resident, the gunmen continued to run farther up the dam and crossed a small bridge which led them into nearby Strathspey at which point they disappeared.

The resident believed that the police could have caught the men if they had kept up the chase. However, when contacted yesterday a senior police officer told this newspaper that there could have been several reasons why the police gave up the chase. The officer mentioned that the area's setting, the time and the gunmen's apparent knowledge of the terrain could have influenced the officers' decision.

One resident believed that the police might have been intimidated by the firepower of the gunmen. Coldingen holds bitter memories for the police force.

On May 26, 2002, a police patrol was ambushed by gunmen while it was responding to a report in the area. One policeman later died from the injuries sustained in the attack.

Meanwhile, relatives of slain Chinese Restaurant proprietor, Su Pu Zhog have begun to remove their household articles from the business place following the Sunday morning murder/robbery.

A relative of Su told this newspaper that they could not stay any longer at Cove and John because they were no longer feeling safe. The relative noted that Su would be laid to rest tomorrow.

Early Sunday morning two armed bandits attempted to rob Su at his Silver Well Chinese Restaurant located at Lot 4 Cove and John ECD. He resisted and was shot in the neck.