Police increase armed patrols

Police will boost armed patrols in
George Town and West Bay districts following four incidents in four days
involving firearms.

The killing of four-year-old
Jeremiah Barnes at a West Bay gas station Monday night was one of three
shootings Royal Cayman Islands Police believe had occurred that day.

Another shooting happened early
Monday on School Road, and shell casings were found around the same time on
Myles Lane in George Town. No one was hurt in those incidents.

The previous Friday, a man inside
an Eastern Avenue barbershop was threatened with a handgun, but no shots were
fired.

Police Commissioner David Baines
said the public would notice heavily armed officers stationed at roadblocks
around Grand Cayman in the coming days. Their purpose will not be traffic
enforcement, Mr. Baines said.

“You will get caught up in
increasing police activity both in West Bay and George Town,” Mr. Baines said.
“Routine searches of vehicles will be taking place and I ask you not to be too
alarmed when you see that those roadblocks are accompanied by armed officers,
carrying fairly overt weaponry.”

Mr. Baines said the focus of the
roadblocks would be to identify gang members and disrupt their travel and
transport of weapons and drugs across the island.

Plans for the stepped up police
presence were already well under way prior to Monday night’s tragic shooting in
West Bay.

Chief Superintendent John Jones
said on Monday that police had stepped up patrols throughout Grand Cayman and
that increased numbers of armed officers would be deployed at strategic
locations, including George Town, to ensure they could quickly respond to
firearms incidents.

“Using our existing resources of
trained officers, we’ll be stepping up patrols in specific areas, in what we
call ‘hot spot’ areas. They will be in our armed response vehicles, officers on
foot patrol will not be carrying firearms,” he said.

“We’ll be focusing on specific
areas, obviously around Eastern Avenue and School Road where we’ve had previous
incidents,” he said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Baines said he was
closing down all non-essential police office functions in order to put more
cops on the streets.

Spent shell casings

About 1.15am on Monday morning,
police responded to a report of shots being fired in School Road and, on
arrival, discovered that a parked car had been hit by a bullet. During their
search of the area, they recovered a number of spent cartridges nearby, and
also in the Myles Lane area.

On Friday night, according to
police, a gunman entered Mr. G’s Barber Shop on Eastern Avenue around 7.50pm on
Friday night and threatened a man with the gun before running away.

Mr. Jones said there was no
evidence or intelligence at this point to connect the incidents, but said due
to their proximity to each other, it was possible they were linked.

Mr. Baines said there was also
nothing linking the previous shootings to the killing of Jeremiah Barnes Monday
night. In fact, he said it appeared to be separate West Bay and George Town
gangs who were involved in different disputes.

Chief Superintendent Jones said the
increasing use of firearms in Cayman was “completely unacceptable”.

He appealed to the public to come
forward and help police with inquiries on these incidents and others about
which witnesses have not contacted police.

“There is no doubt that the people
involved in many of these incidents know who the perpetrators are, but, for
whatever reason, they do not want to provide us with statements or tell us who
was involved.

“This tit-for-tat must stop now or
the consequences for the people involved, or innocent bystanders, could be
fatal.”

Mr. Jones’ comments were made just hours
before Jeremiah Barnes was shot to death.

“I regret to say we were only too
prophetic when we said it would be not long before an innocent bystander (was
killed)…I regret that had to be a four-year-old boy.”

Barnes-Jones

LEFT: Mr. Baines, RIGHT: Mr. Jones
File

1 COMMENT

  1. It is noteworthy that the Royal Cayman Islands Police will be stepping up their activity in their bold attempt to curb the escalating incidents of gun crimes on the island.

    As Police Commissioner David Blaines said, “the public would notice heavily armed officers stationed at roadblocks in Grand Cayman in the coming days.” And also, “you will get caught up in increasing police activity both in West Bay and George Town.”

    These new police initiatives may not sit well with some residents because of possible inconvenience and the perception that the island is becoming a “police state.” If this is what is required to effectively identify, arrest gang members and other thugs, and also seize illegal weapons, so be it!

    It is a foregone conclusion that if witnesses to crimes and people who know the perpetrators would come forward to assist the police in their investigations, more arrests could be made.

    Crime must be everyone’s concern. Let each of us do our part to rid our society of this cancer.

    GEOFF DANIELS

Comments are closed.