Young Caymanians dying

Twelve of the 15 homicide victims in Cayman’s past two years of record-setting violence were Caymanians; all but three of whom were under the age of 30.

The average age of the 12 Caymanian shooting victims was approximately 25 years.

The years 2008 and 2009 are believed to be the deadliest the Cayman Islands have ever experienced, with seven people killed in 2008 and eight who died in violent incidents last year.

Three foreign nationals, 40-year-old Frederic Bise 47-year-old Martin Gareau, and 24-year old Fabian Reid also lost their lives in the spate of unprecedented violence in the past two years.

All but one of the eight people killed in 2009 were Caymanians.

There is also a marked difference between the two years in the type of killings occurring. The year 2008 saw only two deaths caused by shootings; 2009 recorded six.

Investigators have also noted an increase most recently in gang-related shootings. At least four of the past five deaths have been shootings that cops have blamed on gang disputes.

‘Certainly the ones that I have experienced whilst I have been here have been gang-related,’ Police Commissioner David Baines said during an interview prior to the 30 December shooting death of 27-year-old Fabian Powell.

Mr. Baines was specifically referring to the deaths of four men between early July and mid-October including the 5 July shooting of 28-year-old Omar Samuels, the 8 July shooting of 20-year-old Marcus Ebanks, the 10 September shooting of 35-year-old Carlo Webster, and the 13 October shooting death of 24-year-old Fabian Reid.

‘They have links, definitive links,’ Mr. Baines said.

The commissioner cautioned the public not assume that the recent string of killings is simply gang members offing each other. In fact, he said young Marcus Ebanks’ death was the result of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

‘Marcus Ebanks was not a gang member, not involved in organised crime and neither were the two young lads who were with him,’ Mr. Baines said. ‘(The shooters) were after somebody else, but it doesn’t matter who they were after. One young man is dead, one is paralysed for the rest of his life and one is mentally hurt with the loss of a brother.’

Marcus’ brother, 18-year-old Rod, recovered from his injuries in that shooting. Fourteen-year-old Adryan Powell did not. He is expected to remain paralysed from the waist down, despite the best efforts of Miami doctors.

According to police, Marcus Ebanks’ shooting death is not the only one where the suspected shooters apparently got the wrong man.

Shots fired into the car that Fabian Reid was in on 13 October in Newlands were believed to have been intended for another individual; that individual – not Reid – was believed to be the person who shot Carlo Webster inside the Next Level nightclub in September.

Webster’s killing was also believed to be retaliatory.

Police said it was too early to discuss motive in the most recent killing, that of Fabian Powell. However, Powell was at one time considered a suspect in the January 2008 shooting death of 18-year-old Josh Hooker. A police wanted flyer, inadvertently released to the public last year, identified Powell as the man who was wanted for questioning in connection with Josh Hooker’s death.

Powell was never charged in connection with that shooting.

Solving crimes

The Caymanian Compass examined the case clearance rate for the last 15 killings the Islands have experienced.

For 2008, charges and convictions were obtained in two of the seven homicides; those of 21-year-old Aaron William Berry and 20-year-old Brian Rankine. A suspect was also arrested and charged in the death of Canadian national Martin Gareau, but that individual was found not guilty at trial.

The October 2008 rape and killing of Cable and Wireless Communications Manager Estella Scott-Roberts has led to charges against two men who are expected to face trial early this year.

No charges have been filed in the 2008 deaths of Josh Hooker, Frederic Bise, and 23-year-old Mark Jefferson.

In 2009, prosecutors obtained a conviction in the killing of local DJ Sherman ‘Jazzy B’ Bodden, and have charged a man in the March death of 21-year-old Sabrina Schirn. That man, Randy Martin, is currently on trial for murder.

Three men have also been charged in Omar Samuels’ death and are scheduled to face trial.

Arrests were made in connection with Carlo Webster’s shooting, but no charges have been filed. Similarly, no resolution has been brought in the killings of 17-year-old Jerome ‘J.C.’ Russell, Marcus Ebanks, Fabian Reid, and Fabian Powell.