The arrest on Sunday of a “person of interest” in two West Bay homicides in 2011 has further directly linked several killings to a long-running feud between street gangs in the district.
The 25-year-old man arrested in a police raid in North Side on Sunday, Keith Montaque, was named by prosecutors during court proceedings last year as the second gunman involved in the Sept. 13, 2011 killing of Robert Mackford Bush. The other suspect, Brian Emmanuel Borden, last year was convicted of murder in the shooting.
Montaque was never charged – and had still not been charged as of press time Wednesday – in connection with the Bush killing, although he was identified during a trial in 2014 as the “second gunman” by Crown prosecutor Andrew Radcliffe.
“The accused left the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands after the murders in 2011,” Royal Cayman Islands Police Superintendent Adrian Seales said this week.
Police also revealed this week that Montaque was being questioned in another homicide, the killing of 18-year-old Preston Rivers on Sept. 17, 2011, four days after the murder of Bush.
Defense attorneys in the Bush murder trial, however, came up with two different names as potential suspects in the killing. One of those men named during the trial was shot to death on Birch Tree Hill Road last month as the apparent gangland feud between the Logwoods and Birch Tree Hill gangs continued into the new year.
Police have said that three killings in the West Bay district between Sept. 13 and 17, 2011 were in direct retaliation, one after another. Bush, a known member of the Logwoods crew, was killed on Sept. 13. Two nights later, Andrew Anthony Baptist, whose name had “come up,” according to police, during the investigation of the Bush murder, was shot dead on Sand Hole Road.
Preston Rivers, whose death was not linked to the other two until later, was shot on Anderson Road two nights after Baptist, and now a known member of the Birch Tree Hill crew has been arrested as a “person of interest” in that incident.
In a fourth shooting during the September 2011 period in George Town district, Jason Christian, 18, was killed at a location off Crewe Road. Also wounded in that shooting was Montaque, who was then 22.
Chief Superintendent John Jones said at the time: “We have strong grounds to believe both of these murders are gang-related and relate to a resumption of a feud between factions or gangs … from the Logwoods area and the Birch Tree Hill area.”
Victor Oliver Yates, 22, was killed outside the Super C Restaurant in West Bay on Jan. 3, 2015. Although Mr. Yates was not believed to have been directly involved in gang activity, the man now charged in connection with his death, Justin Manderson, 22, is a known gang member.
Manderson was injured in an apparent retaliatory shooting on Jan. 5 outside the Pop-A-Top liquor store in West Bay but survived the shooting with a wound to his wrist. On Jan. 23, David Ruben Ebanks, Manderson’s cousin, was killed in a shooting outside a Birch Tree Hill Road jerk stand.