Justin Manderson of West Bay was shot and killed outside 7 Mile Shops in the early hours of Saturday in the Cayman Islands’ first homicide of 2016.
Mr. Manderson, 24, a boat captain and the father of a young son, was found lying on the pavement on West Bay Road close to Nectar nightclub just before 2 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the Cayman Islands Hospital at 3:33 a.m.
Detectives are investigating the possibility that the killing may have been a reprisal attack. Mr. Manderson was charged with the January 2015 murder of Victor Oliver Yates in West Bay, but the case was dropped ahead of a planned trial last year.
Police are searching for a light-skinned male with his hair pulled back in a pony tail, who was seen leaving the scene after the shooting on Saturday morning. The suspect was wearing light blue jean shorts, according to a witness description.
In a statement Saturday morning, police said they received a call at 1:48 a.m. of shots fired and a male lying on the sidewalk outside 7 Mile Shops. Officers found Mr. Manderson unresponsive at the scene.
Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay appealed for witnesses.
“West Bay Road would have been fairly busy with club-goers,” he said. “We are also looking for any witnesses that would have been driving by. We are looking for anybody else that we haven’t spoken to already to come forward.” He said there was also CCTV around the 7 Mile Shops area.
Asked if police were investigating potential links to the shooting of 22-year-old Mr. Yates, he said, “There was that major incident, which you have mentioned, that is obviously something that we are taking into account. We are taking very seriously that it could be some sort of reprisal. We certainly can’t rule it out.”
The killing marks the first homicide in the Cayman Islands since Jason Powery was shot and killed outside the Globe Bar in George Town in July of last year.
Mr. Manderson worked as a boat captain on tours to Stingray City and had one son – a toddler, according to a family friend.
He had appeared in court in connection with alleged gun and gang activity, but he was never convicted of a serious offense.
Manderson was acquitted of attempted murder in January 2012 in relation to an incident in which Andy Barnes was shot in the leg.
He was also charged with the January 2015 killing of Mr. Yates outside the Super C Restaurant but was released after the case was dropped by the prosecution when a witness declined to testify.
According to Cayman Compass archives, Mr. Manderson was injured in a shooting on Jan. 5 outside the Pop-A-Top liquor store in West Bay. He suffered a wound to his wrist.
Anyone with information about the shooting on Saturday is asked to call the George Town CID at 949-4222 or to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.tipsubmit.com.