Teen dies in shooting

First killing of 2009

A 17-year-old became the Cayman Islands’ first homicide victim of 2009 less than 72 hours into the New Year as shots rang out in the parking lot of a George Town nightclub.

Eastern Avenue

Police continued to block a wide section of Eastern Avenue Monday while the murder investigation continued.
Photo: Jewel Levy

The dead teen, identified as Jerome Christopher Alexander Russell, of George Town collapsed a short distance from the parking lot of the ShirReynolds club on Eastern Avenue around 10.30pm Saturday. Police said he died at the scene.

Another man was hit in the shooting and showed up later that night at George Town Hospital. The 22-year-old had been shot in the stomach but was expected to survive according to the latest reports at press time Monday.

As late as Monday noon, police still had a section of Eastern Avenue blocked off between Cox Lumber and Uncle Bill’s hardware as detectives scoured the scene for clues. The closure kept vehicle traffic away from several businesses in the area on Monday, although shoppers on foot were still allowed through.

Officers hoped the road would re-open Monday afternoon.

“It’s a big scene and we have to check everything,” Police spokesperson Deborah Denis said. “Also, it would appear an offender left on foot.”

Eyewitnesses reported someone running down the street near the club firing shots Saturday night, and there were several differing descriptions of the suspect, making police uncertain whether there had been more than one shooter.

“This is an extremely serious incident,” said RCIPS Detective Inspector Kim Evans. “A young man has lost his life, and it’s important that if people have information they come forward.”

The violent incident is just one of several that have troubled that particular area of George Town within the past year.

In February, a fight that broke out in the same nightclub parking lot left two men injured; one was stabbed, another run over by a vehicle. Police investigating the case said there appeared to be racial overtones in the incident. No arrests were ever made.

There were at least three incidents last year where shots were fired in the School Road vicinity, just down the street from where Saturday’s violence occurred. At least one person was injured in one of those shootings.

Cayman is coming off a particularly grim 2008, when the country saw seven homicides; its highest total ever in one year.

Five of the seven victims involved in last year’s killings were young Caymanians. Four of the five were between the ages of 18 and 23. Mr. Russell was just 17.