Man shot dead Sunday morning
A 28-year-old man was shot dead early Sunday morning in an area of George Town that has been plagued by gang violence and tit-for-tat reprisals in recent years.
Police had not formally named the dead man by press time Monday, but he was identified locally as Omar Barton Samuels.
Samuels came to rest just across from the Habana Cafe, on the corner of School Road and McField Lane, after being shot in the leg before 1am Sunday morning.
The dead man is not to be confused with Christopher Omar Samuels, 33, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in jail over a 2002 rape.
Despite setting up a major incident room at George Town Police Station, police had made no arrests in the case as the Caymanian Compass went to press Monday.
The 911 Emergency Communications Centre said it received a call at about 1am from a woman reporting that Samuels had been shot in the leg and was bleeding profusely.
Police and medics found Samuels alive but unresponsive when they arrived on the scene.
Up to 100 people were in the area as Samuels bled to death, many of them at a nearby jerk food stand where crowds flock after bars close at midnight Saturday.
Police did not respond to questions about whether an ambulance crew had been forced to wait 10 minutes for a police armed response unit to arrive on the scene to give paramedics the all clear to approach the area.
In a statement, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service also revealed there had been a delay between when Samuels was shot and when they received a call about the shooting.
‘We are making enquiries into what happened and all priority lines of enquiry will be thoroughly examined,’ said Detective Inspector Kim Evans, who is leading the investigation.
‘The team of investigators are working hard on this case and we encourage anyone with information who has not yet contacted the police, to come forward as soon as possible,’ Mr. Evans said.
Blood stains were still evident at the scene Sunday morning as worshippers passed by to attend a nearby church.
Police cordoned off a large area around the Habana Cafe as they took evidence and new Police Commissioner David Baines and Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden toured the scene Sunday morning.
Children and onlookers peered over police caution tape and asked what had happened but officers at the scene were saying little.
Samuels, who had just one arm, faced court in March 2008 charged with unlicensed possession of an AK-47 rifle and 15 rounds of ammunition, as well as drug possession, although police did not proceed with the firearm case.
Samuels’ shooting is the Cayman Islands’ fourth slaying in 2009.
Seventeen year-old Jerome ‘JC’ Russell became the country’s first homicide victim in the first few days of 2009. He was followed by local radio personality Sherman A. Bodden and then by 21-year-old Sabrina Schirn.
The School Road and McField Lane area has been home to a number of shootings and deaths in recent years. Less than one month ago 21-year-old Lance Justin Myles received a 20-year jail term over his role in a May 2008 drive by shooting targeting the home of a gangster.
A family liaison officer has been assigned to help counsel the dead man’s relatives. A post mortem is scheduled to take place at a later date.
Persons with information should contact the investigation team directly on the following numbers: Detective Inspector Kim Evans – 526 0628; Detective Sergeant Collins Oremule – 516 8746; Detective Constable – Chase Wade – 526 8911.
Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000 should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.