RCIPS: Officers in fatal shooting had lives threatened

Police in Cayman issued this photograph of Norval Barrett in December 2016 in a request to the public to help find him.

Police involved in the Jan. 6 fatal shooting of armed Jamaican suspect Norval Barrett have had their lives threatened by people affiliated with Barrett, according to evidence given at a coroner’s inquest on Tuesday.

The evidence was testimony from a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service detective, who said the RCIPS joint intelligence unit received information in May that people in Jamaica threatened that they plan to come here with guns to take revenge for Barrett’s death.

Accordingly, the detective asked Magistrate Eileen Nervik to keep the identity of the officers off the record for their safety.

“If this kind of retaliation should happen or is even attempted, it would have a significant destabilizing effect on the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands community at large,” said the detective.

Ms. Nervik said the order to keep the identity of the officers confidential had already been made.

Along with the detective, a DNA specialist and pathologist Shravana Jyoti also testified at the inquest, which was not completed as of press time.

Dr. Jyoti said the cause of Barrett’s death was a penetrating gunshot wound of the head and neck. The man also had gunshot wounds to the left thigh and lower left leg, he said.

Barrett’s death is believed to be the first fatal police shooting since at least the 1980s.

On the day of his death, police were executing a search warrant in the Windsor Park area of George Town around 5:30 a.m. Police found a .357 revolver on Barrett, according to evidence given at the inquest.

The Jamaica national had previously been convicted of robbery in Cayman in 2011 and had returned here illegally after being deported.

Just before last Christmas, the RCIPS put out a statement regarding Barrett, warning the public to exercise caution because he was “potentially dangerous.”

The detective at the inquest said Barrett entered Cayman illegally both times with illegal narcotics and “possibly firearms.”

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