Bermuda cops finish on-site shooting review

Two Bermuda police officers finished a preliminary report last week into the shooting death of an armed suspect by Royal Cayman Islands Police on Jan. 6.

Norval Barrett, 34, was shot and killed during an incident involving RCIPS armed units in the Windsor Park area of George Town.

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne asked for Bermuda police to take over the investigation to ensure the independence of the review.

The Bermuda officers are expected to return to Cayman next month to “conduct follow-up technical examinations” of the forensic evidence related to the fatal shooting, a statement from Mr. Byrne’s office noted.

The Bermuda police investigation will be presented to the local Director of Public Prosecutions for review once it is finished.

The RCIPS officers involved in the shooting may take personal leave or be assigned to administrative duties until the independent inquiry is finished, according to the RCIPS. Police department policy states that these measures are taken largely to ensure the welfare of the officers involved.

The Jan. 6 shooting is believed to be the first fatal RCIPS officer shooting of a criminal suspect since at least the 1980s, although department officials could not be certain whether it was the first such incident in the department’s 100-plus year history.

Barrett was an illegal immigrant in the Cayman Islands and had been convicted of robbery in early 2011.

Mr. Byrne said the Jamaican national was being sought on an arrest warrant the morning he was killed.

According to previous police accounts of the incident, Barrett left a residence on Theresa Drive with a firearm. Mr. Byrne said armed officers fired “a number of shots” and injured the suspect. He was transported to hospital and pronounced dead at 6:16 a.m. on Jan. 6, police said.

Mr. Byrne said he could not confirm whether the suspect fired any shots at police, although he said that was being looked at. The firearm recovered by police at the scene was loaded, Mr. Byrne said.

Just before Christmas, the RCIPS put out a public warning regarding Barrett, who was sentenced in 2012 to 12 years in prison for a robbery at the Shedden Road Esso station on Aug. 18, 2010. His sentence was later reduced to nine years by the Court of Appeal.

Barrett was deported from Cayman after he was released from prison, but the RCIPS reported during the holiday period that he was believed to be back on island illegally. “Anyone who sees Mr. Barrett should exercise caution as he could be potentially dangerous,” the December press release noted.

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