Murder investigation launched following fatal shooting

One dead, three others treated for gunshot injuries.

Police tape cordons off a section of Martin Drive where one man was shot and killed and another two injured on Thursday, 1 July. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay.

Around midday on Friday, 2 July, along a narrow stretch of Martin Drive, in George Town, yellow tape was placed across utility poles with a warning, ‘Police Line Do Not Cross’, as a murder investigation got under way.

Behind the tape, more than a dozen police officers and detectives were scouring the area in search of clues to solve the latest deadly shooting in the Scranton neighbourhood, that claimed the life of a 36-year-old man.

“Just after 11 o’clock last night we got a call from emergency 911 of multiple gunshots being fired,” said Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton, as he toured the scene with detectives.

“When officers arrived, we found two injured males, one of whom has subsequently passed on.”

Walton added, “While investigations were ongoing, we received reports from the Health Services Authority that a third male had turned up at the hospital driven there by a private vehicle with gunshot wounds as well.

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“50 minutes later we had another call… a fourth male turned up at the hospital with gunshot injuries. We don’t know yet if that injured male is connected to [the first] shooting.”

Markers have been placed along Martin Drive, George Town, where police have recovered at least 25 spent casings. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

More than two dozen spent bullet casings were recovered from the scene. Several residents told the Cayman Compass the gunshots ran out in such quick succession they thought they were fireworks.

“I was laying in my bed just after 11 o’clock when I heard ‘[pow, pow, pow]’ and thought to myself they are shooting again, so I just rolled over and went to sleep,” said one man who lives a stone’s throw away from the shooting. He asked not to be identified.

Errol Ramoon, who also lives in the neighbourhood, said he was also awoken by the shooting.

A bullet hole on the side of Errol Ramoon’s house. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

“Two bullets came into my home through the corner of my house,” said Ramoon, as he pointed to the outer walls, “One went into the cabinet… and this one [fell] on the floor and woke me up.”

Ramoon is a 69-year-old retiree who has lived in Scranton all his life. He said gun crime is an all-too-familiar scourge in the area, adding he believed it was only a matter of time before another person was gunned down.

*In July 2015 Jason Powery was shot and killed on Martin Drive. Then in November 2016 Damean Dwayane “Deebo” Seymour was shot and killed in broad daylight.

Thursday’s fatal shooting occurred a few feet away from where both men were killed.

As of press time, police had not released the identity of the deceased.

Increase in gun crime

Deputy Commissioner of Police Kurt Walton. – Photo: RCIPS

Deputy Commissioner Walton said since 10 April, 10 people have been shot, which shows an increase in gun crime across Grand Cayman.

“That’s a high number, considering that is only two months,” said Walton. “We have had incidents here on Martin Drive, we have had incidents in West Bay, outside of night clubs and outside the bars on Seymour Drive.

“The stark reality is that we have had an uptick in our gun crimes and we are aware of that and we have put in robust police patrol.”

Walton said armed officers have been deployed on foot patrol along Martin Drive and Sound Way, George Town, in recent months and Thursday’s fatal shooting has prompted police to increase those patrols.

“The reality is, there is a certain amount of risk when you see an uptick in gun crime and, for us, the only way to actually address it is to be proactive and be out there and be seen having proactive patrols,” said Walton.

RCIPS Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton and Superintendent Brad Ebanks display the firearms taken during June’s gun amnesty programme. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

In June 2018, 18 weapons and 896 rounds of ammunition were turned in to police during a month-long gun amnesty. Walton said another amnesty is a potential option for police to explore.

“It’s certainly not something that we will rule out, in terms of taking guns off the street,” said Walton. “But there are other proactive options available to us, as you saw last week, where we arrested an individual just on Sound Way.”

With a murder investigation now under way, Walton is asking members of the community who might know something about the incident to contact police through beat officers, the major incident room at 649-2930, or via their website or any of the police stations.

“The Cayman Islands is not used to and should never get used to this kind of gun crime,” he said.

[*] Editor’s note: This story previously incorrectly stated that David Ebanks was shot and killed on Martin Drive. It was Jason Powery who was shot and killed outside Globe bar.

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  1. An awful lot of gun crime considering our very small population.

    According to the UK government: In the year ending 31 March 2019, there were a total of 6,759 firearm offences recorded in the England & Wales.

    But remember they have a population of over 60 million compared to our 60,000 or so.