Key witness sought in boy’s slaying

Detectives
investigating the murder of four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes are appealing for the
driver of a white four door sedan car to come forward.

The car was
parked at the pumps in the forecourt of Hell service station last Monday night
at the time of the incident and police are asking the driver to get in touch as
soon as possible.

“The driver of
the car, possibly a Hyundai Lantra with alloy wheels, had just filled up with
petrol and then left the scene after the shooting,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector
Peter Kennett. “We need to speak to the driver, who we believe to be a regular
customer at the service station, urgently as he could have information which is
vital to the enquiry.”

This
individual, or anyone who has any information regarding his identity, should
contact the murder incident room at West Bay police station either by calling
the team direct on 926-1773, or by calling the station on 949-3999 and asking
to be transferred to the enquiry team.

Alternatively
call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

Royal Cayman
Islands Police have now arrested a total of four people in connection with
their enquiry into the Monday night slaying of Jeremiah in West Bay. 

However,
despite public outrage and police and government calls for greater cooperation,
the man in charge of the RCIPS criminal investigation department has revealed
that not one call has been received by the enquiry team.

“People out
there know who’s responsible,” said Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden.
“But despite the public outrage at this horrendous crime and the calls from
community leaders, the RCIPS and the government for communities to help us
bring the people responsible to account, not one single call has come into
either our enquiry team or to the confidential tip line.”

“Let me be
clear about this. Without the much needed information from the public, family
members of the people responsible, people who know the killers, people who have
heard whispers about who might have been involved, we may struggle to bring
this enquiry to a successful conclusion.”

Mr. Bodden
said the fact that four people have now been arrested does not necessarily mean
that criminal charges automatically follow.

“Charges
depend on having sufficient evidence and information available – so please come
forward with whatever information you have,” he said.

“We
particularly need information from people who were in the area of Hell service
station around the time of the shooting – shortly after 8.00 p.m. Monday.
Whether you were on foot or in a car we need to find out if you have information
which could assist us in the enquiry.”

Police have
swamped the streets of George Town and West Bay
since Monday night’s incident.

RCIPS officers
who are normally involved in other duties have joined their operational
colleagues to man roadblocks, bolster the murder enquiry team, and engage in
activity to disrupt the activities of known offenders by stopping and searching
them, and their vehicles, for weapons and ammunition.

Many other
vehicles have also been randomly stopped and checked as part of the operation.

Police said
high visibility patrols involving armed officers have taken place at known
hotspots throughout the force area.

“This
intensive activity already seems to be having an effect,” said RCIPS Chief
Superintendent John Jones. “The streets have been relatively quiet and we are
seeing fewer of our known offenders out on the streets. But, when they have
been seen they have been stopped and detained by our armed officers while we
carry out searches.

“Hundreds of
cars have been searched and we have made several arrests mainly in relation to
suspected drugs offences – but as yet no significant finds have been made in
relation to firearms or ammunition.

There is no
doubt that people know where these individuals are hiding their weaponry. Tell
us what you know and we take immediate, firm and decisive action to get these
people and their guns off the streets of Cayman.”

Mr. Jones also
revealed that police will be seizing cars which have been adapted by people to
prevent police officers and other members of the public seeing into the
vehicles.

“Vehicles with
heavily tinted windows pose a real safety issue for our officers and other people,”
he said. “If we can’t see into the cars we can’t see how many people are in
there or what, if any, weapons they might have. These cars will be taken off
the streets to avoid any possibility of people armed with guns being hidden
behind blacked out windows while they drive around our streets.”

Anyone with information
about this incident who has not already contacted police is asked to call the
homicide investigation team at 926-1773 or the West Bay
Police Station at 949-3999. Cayman Crime Stoppers can also be contacted at
800-8477 (TIPS).

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