The Cayman Islands’ homicide count for 2008 has now doubled what the country saw in 2007 and 2006 with less than seven months of this year gone.
In the latest incident, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers said one man was shot to death and another was wounded overnight Friday in West Bay.
The dead man was identified as Mark Jefferson, 23, of West Bay. The other shooting victim, a 20-year-old male, was hospitalised with a gun shot wound to his arm and was expected to survive.
Gun shots were reported in the street outside Kelly’s Bar and the laundromat on Birch Tree Hill Drive just off Town Hall Road around midnight Friday. Witnesses at the scene said it appeared the man who was killed was chased down and shot in the street.
Investigating officers said it appeared shots had been fired in the street near the bar, causing several people to run away from the location. A number of shell casings were recovered at the crime scene but a weapon was not immediately found.
The shooting victim died at the scene after officers said it appeared he collapsed in the street.
No arrests in the shooting were immediately reported by police, although officers said there was a 19-year-old who was ‘assisting officers with their inquiries.’
Police patrols were stepped up over the weekend in West Bay and officers could be seen out in force in the district during the day Saturday. Some 30 RCIPS officers were working on the case.
Investigating officers believed the dispute began in the street, and may not have had anything to do with the bar or the nearby laundromat. Residents in the area said the street corner is a popular late-night hang out.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call West Bay Police Station at 949-3999 and ask for Superintendent Marlon Bodden or Detective-Sergeant Lauriston Burton.
The past weekend’s late night shooting was not the first to occur on this West Bay street corner in recent months.
On 4 April, a 24-year-old man was shot in the same area of Birch Tree Hill Road and ran to police officers, who were there on routine patrol, for help. He ended up being driven to hospital by one of the officers and survived.
Friday’s killing is the sixth in the Cayman Islands so far this year. The murder rate for 2008 has outpaced anything the islands have seen in the past several years.
The violence has not been concentrated in any one district. In fact, the districts of West Bay, Bodden Town and George Town have seen two homicides each so far in 2008.
In at least two cases, the deaths of Brian Rankine and Frederic Bise, investigators have not publicly stated where the killings took place.