Crime wave suspect dies after ambush
'Skittle' had fallen out with Buxton gang
February 9, 2004
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Mervin Archer called `Skittle' was on Saturday night gunned down in front of a popular East Coast Demerara bar by a lone gunman.
Shortly after the shooting, a carload of heavily-armed men pulled up on the scene. They made a brief search through the street where the gunman fled and then sped away west along the East Coast Public Road. Reports are that the men in the car were seen earlier in the evening casing the Victoria Public Road. Stabroek News was told that the men were searching for Archer who reports say was carrying a firearm at the time of his death. It is not clear whether the police recovered the weapon or someone on the scene took it.
Archer, 25, of Buxton Middle Walk, ECD was shot two times by the gunman who was carrying a 9mm pistol. He was confronted in front of a minibus which had stopped to pick him up around 9:45 pm in front of Myrna's Diner on the Haslington Public Road.
Reports are that Archer, who was living at Victoria at the time of his death, had left his home around 7:50 pm on Saturday telling his reputed wife that he was going to purchase bread. He however ended up at the bar where he sometimes worked as a labourer.
An eyewitness said Archer was seen in the bar shortly after 8 pm drinking and conversing with friends. The eyewitness recalled that it was around 9:30 pm when she saw Archer come out of the bar and go down the road. She said shortly after, a minibus which plies the Victoria/ Georgetown route and was heading to Victoria, stopped to put off the gunman and at the same time pick up Archer.
"Soon as the bus stop and `Skittle' try to go in, the man come out and fire two shots in he; one on he forehead and the other in he stomach," the eyewitness related.
She said once Archer was hit he fell to the ground and the gunman raced through a street popularly known as `Casareep Road'.
Stabroek News was told that even though several persons converged on the scene after the shooting, only one man attempted to chase after the gunman who appeared to know the Haslington terrain well.
According to information, Archer was picked up a few minutes later and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospi-tal where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Reports are that he died on his way down.
The eyewitness said about 30 minutes after the shooting a contingent of policemen arrived on the scene and was shown the gunman's escape route. They looked through the street, observed the spot where Archer was shot and drove away.
Stabroek News was told that Archer was killed by one of his fellow villagers. According to a Buxtonian source, even though Archer had moved out his name was still being mentioned by a young criminal group operating out of Buxton. Reports are that Archer had previously sent threatening messages to some of the very men who had chased him out of the village and for that reason he was marked and closely watched.
Stabroek News was told that the gunman and the carload of men were working in concert on Saturday night and since they did not find him in Victoria they knew the only other place he visited frequently was the bar. The man's relatives however questioned how as soon as Archer went onto the road the minibus pulled up. They described him as a very jovial person who liked plenty of friends.
Meanwhile, yesterday morning the driver and conductor of the minibus were detained by police at the Cove and John police station for questioning. The spot where Archer fell was marked by investigating ranks who also took statements from persons at the scene.
When Stabroek News visited Archer's relatives in Buxton yesterday, his brother, Marlon said he hardly knew anything about his brother's activities since he left the village.
According to Marlon what he knew for sure is that Archer was forced to leave the village because of threats. He however said, while in Buxton no one had ever visited their home in search of Archer even though he was listed as being wanted by certain villagers.
Asked whether, Archer had any problem with anyone of late, his reputed wife, Jennel answered in the negative, adding that he was living quite comfortably in Victoria and was getting along well with the villagers.
Archer was chased out of his home village three months ago after criminals there turned the heat up on him following reports that he was linked to an outside gang. He and several other young men were forced to move out of the village last year after criminals there suspected that they were informants for another group. Like Archer these men were all blacklisted.
However, before that, Archer was suspected of involvement in last year's kidnapping of taxi driver Vivekanand Nandalall of Enterprise ECD, who has not been found since. For several days police on the East Coast had chased after him in relation to Nandalall's abduction until he turned himself in accompanied by a lawyer. He was also alleged to have been a key figure in the countless minibus robberies on both the Buxton Public and Embank-ment roads.
His latest criminal involvement, according to a police source, was in the murder of a Chinese national, Su Pu Zhog of Cove and John last year December. He was also said to have been part of a group of young men who robbed a grocer of the said village, a few days later.