The father of a 22-year-old man who was shot dead outside a West Bay restaurant has claimed, “I know who killed my son.”
Oliver Yates says he is “100 percent certain” of the identity of his son’s killer. And he believes there are at least 10 people who could give the police the evidence they need to convict the killer.
Speaking from West Bay Cemetery as he dug his son’s grave on Saturday, Mr. Yates said it was time for someone to be brave enough to stand up and say what they saw when his son Victor was killed on Jan. 3.
He said the same group of boys who were involved in the killing were known to have taken part in previous shootings in the district.
“At this point, it is more dangerous not to speak up. My son was not a troublemaker. He was killed over nothing. Next time it could be you, it could be your child,” said Mr. Yates.
“This is not the first time these boys did something like this. They are a gang. My son was by himself. He was trying to leave on his motorbike. They stopped him from putting on his helmet and they shot him in the back of the head.”
Mr. Yates spent Saturday with his father and a small group of friends digging the grave where his son will be buried on a family plot overlooking the ocean.
“I can’t do much more for him now. At least this is the last little thing I can do for him,” he said.
The plot had been meant for himself or for his father, Victor senior, he said. “I was not supposed to put my son in this place, he was meant to be putting me here. It is just not fair to take the life of a good young man like this.”
Mr. Yates said he understands there had been a dispute over a boat engine – an argument that his son was walking away from.
“This was not something that was in any way a life-threatening situation. They killed him for nothing. These boys are sociopaths. The system has let them get away with it too often and now they have killed an innocent boy, a working young man who had everything to live for,” he said.
Victor Yates worked six days a week at the Cayman Spirits Company, where managers say he was one of their hardest workers. He was interested in engines and had his own motorbike, boat and WaveRunner.
He had a steady girlfriend, he had no criminal convictions, and police say there is no intelligence to suggest he was involved with gangs.
According to his father, he had spent the night playing pool at the fish fry next door to Super C in West Bay. He was attempting to get on his motorcycle to leave the area just before 3 a.m. when he was killed.
There were at least 20 people in the area when the shooting took place, according to police. Mr. Yates says he understands that the shooter was driven away from the scene by a woman, along with two other people, who he believes are accomplices.
“The hard part is having to sit here, knowing who killed my son and I have to go on living in this island, in this district,” he said. “I have to pass him in the street or in the supermarket.
“I know people are scared to come forward, but somebody has killed one of your fellow Caymanians. If you saw this and you don’t say anything, you are keeping a murderer on the road.
“The system can’t work without people coming forward. I know they are afraid that they will come after them or their family. You might think, I’m trying to protect myself, but tomorrow it could happen to you anyway. You could be killed over nothing, like my son was.”
Mr. Yates said he was concerned that people may attempt to avenge his son’s death. He urged them not to do so, but to give evidence to the police.
“These boys aren’t stopping, the whole of the Cayman Islands knows that. I don’t want an innocent boy who has never committed a crime in his whole life to try to take the law into his own hands and end up in jail.”
He urged the family and friends of those responsible for his son’s death to stop protecting them.
Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay has previously spoken out about the poor public response to the homicide inquiry. He said Monday that the incident room remained open and police are following all lines of inquiry.
Anyone with information can call West Bay Police Station at 949-3999 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 800-8477 (TIPS).