Four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes killed in 2010
It was almost unimaginable.
The initial report came in to the 911 Emergency Centre around 8.30pm Monday, 15 February.
A five-year-old boy shot inside a car that was parked at a West Bay gas station.
The initial report was incorrect. The boy was actually four. His name was Jeremiah Barnes. It appeared he was the victim of shooters who had opened fire on a car in which Jeremiah’s father Andy Barnes, mother Dorlissa Ebanks and older brother were passengers. They escaped injury, unlike Jeremiah.
“I just watched that little boy lying there at the hospital last night….it’s so hard,” Brian Barnes, Jeremiah’s great-uncle said the day after the shooting. “It’s an innocent four-year-old child.”
In a shocking revelation the next day, police said that two men involved in the deadly shooting at the West Bay Hell Esso waited behind the gas station for Jeremiah’s family to show up.
When the white Chevrolet Malibu pulled up, Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines said, two men got out of a vehicle that was parked behind the station, walked up to the Chevy and began “firing indiscriminately”.
“It could have been all four of them in the car that had been shot,” said Brian Barnes.
Commissioner Baines, whose department at the time was dealing with a several killings from the last half of 2009 and early 2010, said Jeremiah’s murder was Cayman’s “wake up call”.
But he urged Caymanians against vigilantism and taking matters into their own hands.
“Perhaps now that this poor little boy has lost his life people will start to come forward and give up these so-called gangsters who terrorise the public while they carry out their deadly feuds,” Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said at the time.
A suspect in the case, Devon Jermaine Anglin, was arrested in late February and has been charged with Jeremiah’s murder. He is due to stand trial next year.
Jeremiah Barnes’s killing was one of four homicides in the West Bay district in 2010, all within about six weeks of each other in February and March. The other shootings claimed the lives of Alrick Peddie, 25, Marcos Duran, 29, and Damion Ming.
Five people were arrested on charges of murder or attempted murder following raids in late March; a sixth person was charged in absentia.
“These tit-for-tat attacks on people… it has to stop,” Mr. Baines said.