Midday melee in downtown George Town

Man’s throat slashed after suspect rams his car

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A West Bay man’s throat was slashed in a fight with the driver of another car that repeatedly rammed his vehicle in downtown George Town on Tuesday, numerous witnesses reported. 

The Cayman Compass has learned the victim in the attack, Blake Barrell, 31, had just left the courthouse and was driving away in a Daihatsu when another vehicle – an older model Jeep Cherokee – came up behind and began ramming his car. 

A Royal Cayman Islands Police Service press release stated that the victim’s injuries consisted of “life-threatening wounds to his neck.” The victim, later identified as Mr. Barrell, was taken to hospital where he was undergoing surgery at press time. 

The two vehicles ended up veering off Fort Street into the lawn of the Admiral Financial Center. The ramming incident occurred during the busy lunch hour and dozens of people saw the scene from the street or viewed it from nearby office windows overlooking the area. 

After the vehicles came to rest, one of the men got out and chased the other on foot around the back of the Admiral building. The two eventually re-emerged on Fort Street and headed back toward the courthouse. 

Witnesses said the two ended up in a fight just outside the neighboring Appleby building on Fort Street and that one man slashed the other’s throat. 

Meanwhile, a police officer who happened upon the scene at the time is reported to have held the suspect in custody until other officers arrived to assist. 

Mr. Barrell’s attorney, Laurence Aiolfi, confirmed that his client had been in court Tuesday when one of the charges against him was withdrawn. A court schedule for Tuesday indicated Mr. Barrell faced firearms and drugs possession charges. The firearm charge was withdrawn. 

It was not known at press time whether the suspect involved in the attack, a 38-year-old man, was also in court or had simply waited for Mr. Barrell outside of the courthouse. He had not been charged as of press time. 

Police officers on the scene Tuesday indicated the ramming attack was no accident. 

Mr. Barrell was initially charged with being an accessory after the fact to a 2014 killing in West Bay. Solomon Webster, 24, was killed in the September 2014 shooting, for which Jose Guadalupe Sanchez was charged with murder. Sanchez was cleared of the murder charge during a recent trial after a judge determined the Crown had not proved its case against him. 

The initial charges alleged that Mr. Barrell, knowing or believing that Sanchez had murdered or unlawfully killed Mr. Webster, assisted Sanchez by providing him with a telephone handset and telephone calls, with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution. 

The accessory charges were later dropped against Mr. Barrell. 

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Police officers were out in force following Tuesday’s broad daylight attack in downtown George Town. – Photo: Brent Fuller
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  1. Broad Daylight in the middle of the Capital, ran a man down and slashed his throat, I have to admit I’d even be surprised to hear of something like that happening in NJ and a lot happens there, I’ve read about stories like this in places like Mexico and Jamaica but Cayman? This sounds like a scene right out of a Scarface or God Father Movie. The type of gangsters that would do something like this have no fear or respect for the law or for human life. If this is what things are coming to everyone should be worried. There were most likely quite a bit of visitors who witnessed this and I’m sure there were plenty in that area at the time. This will be the highlight of their trip as well as the stories they tell about Cayman when they get back home. Kudos to the officer who held the suspect in custody until other officers arrived to assist it took guts to apprehend someone armed with a knife and just slashed a man’s throat when you yourself are unarmed.

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  2. Isn’t about time that government pick up the telly and call Havana and ask the Cuban government to take over Cayman law enforcement , jails, prisons, firing squads? This doesn’t go on in our neighbor to the north and when it does happen, justice is swift and punishment is equally swift. We can’t go on and on with increasing heavy duty crime, shoot outs, armed robberies and now a knife slashing attack without coming to a halt or at least being on a collision course. Police should speak softly and carry a big calibre handgun to settle matters like this swiftly when need be.

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  3. Funny you should mention our neighbor to the north Andrew, as the next furthest neighbor to the north also has a police force that is heavily armed, quick to shoot, eager to jail as many people as possible and sentence them to harsh prison sentences and even death yet still has a massive crime problem. Just goes to show there isn’t one answer. One thing I do know, I wouldn’t be quick to trade a free society for a dictatorship that many die trying to escape on a daily basis.

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  4. While I agree with Christoph about not wanting to to trade a free society for a dictatorship that many die trying to escape on a daily basis. I do believe that a police force that is heavily armed, maybe not as quick to shoot but yes eager to jail as many people as possible and sentence them to harsh prison sentences and even death is necessary to control the massive crime rate these places have.

    Maybe Cayman needs to act before they find themselves with the same needs. Right now it seems that the criminals are better organized then the RCIPS and we all know they are better armed.

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  5. You must have missed my point Michael that the country I was referring to (the U.S. if it wasn’t obvious) also has a difficult to control crime problem, even though all the factors you list are present.

    The why’s of its existence and and how to resolve the problem are very difficult to nail down, but most experts now agree that treating an ever increasing portion of your population like criminals isn’t the answer. I’m not sure if looking to the US for solutions to Cayman’s crime problem is the answer. I think most can agree we still feel safer in Cayman than many big cities in the U.S.

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  6. This seems like something else, not the usual cowardly gangsta style drive by shooting. This seems very personal and passionate – furious yes, but also focussed – what the french would call a "crime passionel."

    Given the court appearance of the victim, there is more to it than first appears?

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  7. Got your point Christoph. Personally I think the solution is to focus really hard on the next generation of children, focus on teaching them respect and love for their fellow man. We need to return to a time when Parents were Parents and not friends. Forget the timeout philosophy and go back to spare the rod and spoil the child. When I was a kid my parents answer to me acting out was freshly picked switch, nice thick leather belt or an umbrella if that’s what was in my moms hand at the time. And I thank my lucky stars for every single whooping I got because that’s what kept me on the right track.

    People say things like oh your kids shouldn’t be afraid of you and they are right, I was never afraid of my parents, but I was afraid of what would happen if I acted up as far as calling them to come get out of jail, I know that I would rot there before they came to get dad made that clear to me at a really young age.

    You cannot raise children to respect anyone else when they have no respect for their own parents..

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  8. Michael Davis’s comment below from 8.12 this morning warrants some support. If this Compass report is true, and a policeman did indeed tackle the man with the knife, then that policeman deserves the thanks of the whole community. He is a shining example of what a policeman should be.

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  9. Gordon,
    Please say thank you to people who bake your bread, fix your car, teach your children, clean your house, prepare your tax return, sell you groceries, serve you a drink. They all are shining examples of people doing their job.

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