A young man died, his 18-year-old brother was shot, and a boy of just 14 fought for life as night descended on one of the most horrific crime scenes in recent Cayman Islands history.
Twenty-year-old Marcus L. Ebanks died at the Cayman Islands hospital Wednesday night after he was shot at least three times by suspects that opened fire outside a home on Turtle Crescent near Bonaventure Road, just south of the Boatswain’s Beach property in West Bay.
Marcus’ brother, 18-year-old Rod Ebanks, also suffered injuries in the shooting but was expected to survive. Marcus and Rod Ebanks’ mother is a serving member of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
The youngest victim of the gunfire, identified by friends as 14-year-old Adryan Powell, was in critical condition and was scheduled to be flown to a hospital in Miami for further treatment.
RCIPS officers said they had taken a total of four people into custody in connection with Wednesday night’s deadly triple shooting, two men on Wednesday night and two other people early Thursday morning.
However, police did not immediately say whether any of the four were suspects or merely persons of interest — such as key witnesses — in the case. None had been released since they were taken in.
An RCIPS spokesperson said two men were being questioned because they were near the scene just after the shooting occurred. The Caymanian Compass is not releasing their identities because neither man has been charged with a crime.
Police said gun shots were heard just before 8pm near the intersection of Bonaventure Road and Turtle Crescent which is just to the east of North West Point Road.
All three available ambulance crews on Grand Cayman rushed to the shooting scene along with armed Royal Cayman Islands Police officers. The emergency sirens could be heard all over the district of West Bay Wednesday night.
According to witnesses gathered at the scene, two men with some type of covering over their faces approached the home on Turtle Road and opened fire. Residents in the area reported hearing at least eight to ten shots.
Police Commissioner David Baines said Thursday that two gun men had apparently sprung from the bushes across the street and opened fire on a group of seven young men who were hanging out in front of the house.
Residents suspected it was in retaliation for other violence which had occurred in the district recently, but Mr. Baines said investigators had no evidence to suggest that.
‘(There’s) nothing that gives us a clear motive that would justify two men stepping out of the bushes and opening fire on seven young men,’ the commissioner said.
The deadly shooting comes just days after the killing of 28-year-old Omar Samuels in George Town early Sunday morning. However, police said there was no evidence at all to link the two killings at this stage of the investigation.
Police had a wide area blocked off around the crime scene late into the night and were questioning those who were nearby when the shots were fired. Close to one hundred people gathered around the police crime scene area, some complaining bitterly of a situation that has now led to five killings in the first seven months of this year.
The worst year for homicides on record in the Cayman Islands occurred last year, when seven people were slain.
“My kids were here playing by the pool,” West Bay resident Richard Parchment said Wednesday evening. “It makes me wonder if I chose the right neighbourhood to live in.”
Mr. Parchment, whose opulent two-story home is less than 200 yards from the scene of the crime said the location where the shooting occurred is a trouble spot in the district.
‘Where that shooting took place has been raided several times because some of the guys that live around or in that house are fairly well-known to be dealing with narcotics,’ he said.
‘The community is very concerned. It’s going to send shockwaves throughout.’
Within hours of the shooting occurring, Cayman’s on-line community was also abuzz with word of what had happened. One Facebook page proclaimed there would be a ‘war in West Bay’ following Wednesday night’s shooting.
A Facebook site was established in memory of Marcus Ebanks and had more than a dozen members joining by press time.
‘If it is one lesson that can be learnt from this tragedy is that life is too short to be spent hating people,’ site moderator Jannelle Elizabeth Mungalsingh wrote.
Although the shooting did occur within a short distance of the Bonaventure Boys home in West Bay, officials at the home confirmed that none of those involved had ever been with Bonaventure and that the shooting occurred several hundred yards away on a different property.