Cops killed after robbing mining camp
Police have confirmed that two of their ranks who were found dead in the mountainous Region Eight location of Kato were murdered.
The bodies of Constables Marlon Letlow and Leadon Aaron, which were flown to the city yesterday, bore gunshot wounds. Aaron’s body was burnt almost beyond recognition.
This publication was told that the two policemen were victims of retaliation from miners whose camp they had attempted to rob on Sunday.
Sources say that from all indications the men were fleeing from their attackers.
Both of them appeared to have been shot in the back.
Reports are that the men went out on a routine patrol since Sunday and were returning to the Police Station when they were attacked.
Aaron’s remains were found at around 16:00 hours on Wednesday at Paramakatoi, North Pakaraimas, a short distance from the crashed All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) that they had left the police station with.
His .38 service revolver has not been recovered.
Letlow’s remains were found in a clump of bushes several hours later with his weapon, and a magazine with eight live rounds, close by. His body bore at least two gunshot wounds and other vicious marks of violence.
Eight spent shells and one spent 12 gauge shotgun cartridge were reportedly found at the scene.
According to reports, Aaron was riding the ATV when the incident occurred.
Reports are that the two cops were confronted by their intended victims who sought to defend themselves.
A reliable source has informed this newspaper that from all indications, Aaron received the first gunshot and lost control of the ATV, hurling Letlow, who was also mortally wounded, into a nearby clump of bushes where he was eventually left to die.
The badly injured Aaron was subsequently tied to a tree and set alight.
The attackers apparently did not know that the two men were policemen, since they were both wearing civilian clothes at the time.
Police in a press release stated that Constable Marlon Letlow was recently reinstated into the Police Force, on August 06, 2012. He had been interdicted from duty after being charged criminally following investigations into the robbery and murder of two gold miners at Bartica on September 05, 2010.
Constable Letlow was initially charged with “accessory after the fact” which was subsequently withdrawn and a charge of “receiving stolen property” instituted. This matter was dismissed by the court on May 15, 2012.
A senior police officer has expressed shock that he was sent to a remote location with little or no supervision.
According to the officer, in a case like Letlow’s, the best practice is that the rank be placed under strict supervision to monitor his actions.
This newspaper was reliably informed that the current subordinate officer at the Kato Police Outpost, under whom Letlow and Aaron worked, was previously a Sergeant who was busted all the way down to Constable for disciplinary matters.
It was only after a number of years that he was promoted to Lance Corporal.
“The situation in my opinion is clearly an expression of weak leadership at the senior level, exacerbated by poor supervision at the junior level,” the officer said.
Another officer recalled that the late Police Commissioner Henry Greene was very careful when sending reinstated ranks with a
particular track record into the E&F Division.
According to the officer, the late commissioner usually ensured that should a rank with questionable character be sent into the interior, there was proper supervision at the location, and that the opportunity for ranks to leave that location to venture “on their own” into mining communities, was limited.