Cabinet discusses police response in district
A known West Bay gang member was wounded in an apparent retaliatory shooting Monday night outside a local liquor store.
The Monday shooting occurred two days after the early Saturday killing of Victor Oliver Yates, 22, at the Super C Restaurant on Watercourse Road.
According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Monday’s shooting outside the Pop-A-Top store was reported just after 9 p.m.
The victim, a 22-year-old man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been inside the liquor store on Powell Smith Road just before the shooting occurred. According to police, he stepped out from the liquor store and got into a waiting car (a Toyota), which his friend was driving.
“As their vehicle was driving away, a green Honda motor car reversed along Powell Smith Road from the junction with Reverend Blackman Drive and stopped by the Toyota,” a police statement about the incident read. “One person exited the Honda wearing a hoodie and opened fire on the Toyota which was driving off in the general direction of Stadium Drive. A number of shots were fired. The shooter got back into the Honda, which continued reversing with its lights off in the general direction of Town Hall Road.”
Police said a number of people were riding in the Honda. The car was later found abandoned along Miss Daisy Lane in West Bay.
The 22-year-old victim was hit in the wrist by a bullet and was later treated and released from the Cayman Islands Hospital.
In the earlier shooting, police and emergency medical services found Mr. Yates, a West Bay resident, on the floor at Super C just before 3 a.m. Saturday. Emergency personnel took Mr. Yates to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
The Boatswains Bay area of West Bay where Mr. Yates was shot has been a trouble spot over the years. A 40-year-old man was shot in the same area in January 2009, and a 56-year-old man was shot in the immediate vicinity in July 2013. In August 2014, police responded to a report of gunfire in the area and found a number of spent shell casings and bullet holes in a house and in a plywood sign.
Of more concern to local police and lawmakers was the potential reappearance of tit-for-tat gang-related shootings in the district, which hasn’t seen a retaliatory shooting scenario in more than three years. On the night of Sept. 13, 2011, Robert Mackford Bush was gunned down inside a vehicle stopped at the corner of Capts Joe and Osbert Road and Birch Tree Hill Road in West Bay.
That shooting, which also injured a woman inside the vehicle, sparked a string of gang-related homicides on Grand Cayman, including a shooting on Sept. 15, 2011, believed to be in direct retaliation for Mr. Bush’s death.
In all, five deadly shootings occurred within nine days in September 2011, three of them in West Bay, one in George Town and one in East End. Only one incident out of the five, the shooting of Asher McGaw in East End later in the month, was identified by police as being non-gang related.
The potential for a similar retaliatory outburst in West Bay rose to the highest levels of the Cayman Islands government on Tuesday morning.
“[Governor Helen Kilpatrick] is aware of both of these recent incidents and consequently invited the commissioner of police to update [Tuesday’s] Cabinet on the incidents and RCIPS response,” said a statement from the governor’s office Tuesday. “The commissioner provided Cabinet with details of the events and the RCIPS response, which includes the deployment of additional armed and other units in the area to mitigate the possibility of further gang related violence.
“The RCIPS are appealing for witnesses to these events and for any persons with other information to come forward. The RCIPS are asking for the full cooperation of the public to help bring the perpetrators of these violent crimes to justice.”