Bystander shot dead as police chase suspicious car
- Driver was 15-year-old on joyride
A 21-year-old Lethem resident, who would have celebrated his 22nd birthday today, was fatally shot last night outside the White Castle Fish Shop at Hadfield Street and Lime Streets, when a “high-speed chase” involving three Tactical Services Unit (TSU) ranks and the occupants of a white motor car (PGG 3506) ended in proximity to the popular hangout.
The dead man, Dameon Belgrave, also of Middle Street, Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara, and several of his friends were said to be in pre-birthday celebratory mood, when police reportedly opened fire after the car which they were pursuing at the time, stopped.
According to eyewitnesses, the police vehicle turned at a rapid rate into the street behind a white car that stopped on the northern carriageway of Hadfield Street aback of the Brickdam Secondary School.
The area at the time was crowded. Two gunshots then rang out. Belgrave who was reportedly standing approximately 25 metres away from the police vehicle fell to the ground as other patrons scampered for cover. Belgrave’s friends said when the area cleared somewhat, they noticed that he was lying on the ground and his jersey had blood in the upper chest area. It was then determined that the man was bleeding from what appeared to be a gunshot wound just below his left armpit. Hospital sources confirmed that he was shot in the right shoulder and that the bullet exited his left armpit.
A dark-coloured car (PFF 6438) that was parked just next to where Belgrave was standing had its back windshield shattered as a result of the gunfire.
The police arrested three young men, one aged 23, and two 18-year-olds, who were in the car they were chasing, and then rushed Dameon Belgrave to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A 15-year-old boy who was driving the vehicle, which belonged to a customer of his father, fled the scene. The lad’s father is said to be a mechanic.
The youths have been detained at the Alberttown Police Station. Two of them are from Guyhoc and the third from Bent Street.
A police official said that the TSU ranks were armed with M-70 assault rifles which have been lodged as part of the investigation into Belgrave’s death.
Relatives of the dead young man screamed as they were greeted with news of his death at the hospital. Some screamed ‘Murder’ as Belgrave’s body was wheeled out of the Accident and Emergency Unit
to the mortuary.
They said he only came out of the interior where he lived, yesterday, to spend his birthday with relatives and friends.
Attorney-at-law James Bond confirmed last night that he is representing the interests of the relatives of Belgrave, as well as the detained youths.
Bond said that the 15-year-old boy had taken his father’s car and gone for a joyride with three friends.
He said that according to this story, the teen was about to drop off one of his friends in Bent Street when he spotted the police car.
Because he was unlicenced to drive, the lad allegedly panicked and exited the car in Hadfield Street. It is believed that it was then that police opened fire, fatally wounding Belgrave.
“It’s a sad day for youths in Guyana. It shows that the police have not learned from their mistakes,” Bond said.
This publication as told that the TSU ranks alleged that they were on patrol in Sophia when they saw a car parked suspiciously near the Lamaha Canal.
A source said that one of the ranks claimed that on spotting the police, the occupants of the vehicle raced away, with the ranks in pursuit.
The police allegedly trailed the car down Mandela Avenue and eventually into Hadfield Street.
One of the ranks alleged that he discharged a round in the air, and then heard other shots from the
police vehicle, but was unable to say which of his colleagues had shot. However, the other ranks have denied that they opened fire.
At press time, the policemen were still giving statements at the Alberttown Station.
The shooting comes in the wake of the recent killing of 17-year-old Shaquille Grant, during a raid by police ranks in Agricola.
Ironically, like Belgrave, Grant was also to have celebrated his birthday the following day.