David Ebanks, 20, latest victim
For the second time this month, a young Caymanian man with seemingly little direct connection to the islands’ criminal gang activities has been shot to death in West Bay district.
David Ruben Ebanks, 20, was found late Friday night lying on the ground near a Birch Tree Hill Road home across from Kelly’s Bar. Witnesses in the area that night reported hearing four shots fired shortly before Mr. Ebanks was found. Emergency medical personnel, including a doctor who was on scene, were unable to save him. David Ebanks’s father, local musician Rudy Ebanks, said his son has some family connections to members of the Birch Tree Hill criminal street gang, but he doesn’t believe David was the target of Friday’s shooting.
“David was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr. Rudy Ebanks said. “They never got the guy they really went after. The bullets were not meant for him that night.
“It all about retaliation now.”
There is an ongoing feud in West Bay between two criminal factions, known as the Logwoods crew and the Birch Tree Hill gang. The feud sparked a string of fatal shootings in 2011 when there were five homicides on Grand Cayman in the space of nine days. A separate spate of retaliatory incidents was tipped off by the 2009 killing of Carlo Webster inside what was then known as the Next Level nightclub.
David Ebanks’s involvement in gang-related activities, if any, was unknown. He graduated from the Cayman Islands government’s Passport-2-Success program and had been placed in an auto mechanic apprenticeship program with the assistance of his stepfather, Royal Cayman Islands Police Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks.
Brad Ebanks, who was contacted for comment about the killing, responded via email stating he would speak about the incident at a later date.
Rudy Ebanks said the chief inspector deserved credit for getting involved and trying to help his son find gainful employment. “Brad was trying to help out with all of those things. I really appreciate what he’s done for David,” he said.
Chief Inspector Ebanks, who is the Bodden Town police station commander, had been due to host police public meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week in Bodden Town, North Side and East End districts, but those meetings have been postponed.
No arrests in the shooting had been reported by press time.
Aside from comments made by Rudy Ebanks and other Ebanks family members, police did not state whether they believe David Ebanks’s homicide was connected to two shootings earlier this month in West Bay. There was an increased presence of armed officers in West Bay over the weekend, particularly during the funeral Saturday for Victor Oliver Yates. Mr. Yates, 22, was shot dead outside the Super C restaurant on Jan. 3.
In what was believed to be a retaliatory shooting on Jan. 5, a 22-year-old West Bay man was shot at outside the Pop-A-Top liquor store. He was struck in the wrist and survived his injuries.
Shortly after news of David Ebanks’s death circulated the islands, the 22-year-old shooting victim from Pop-A-Top posted the following on his Facebook page: “R.I.P. to my cuzzin David. They kill u, they just kill dem self.” The quote was followed by what appeared to be a threat to kill some of those responsible which was later removed from the site.
Arrests have been made in the Pop-A-Top shooting, but no one has been arrested in the Yates killing.