Aug 29, 2008 News
– soldier wounded in shootout
The reign of wanted man Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins came to an abrupt end yesterday when he and his accomplice Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles went down in a hail of bullets during a confrontation with members of the Joint Services.
The gunfight started at Timehri and concluded at Kuru Kururu on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
Another man, identified as Sean Grant, called ‘Troyee’ was also shot dead in the initial exchange at Timehri, while Guyana Defence Force Corporal Andrew Cush was wounded and is being treated at the army medical base at Camp Ayanganna.
The death of Rawlins and Charles has created a huge hole in the criminal gang that has been wreaking havoc throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. The security forces have vowed to hunt the remaining gang members to bring their activity to an end.
There is some controversy surrounding the start of the confrontation with residents claiming that Grant, who was living in the area for several months, had been attacked before the Joint Services arrived.
They believe that whoever shot Grant fled the area, leaving him mortally wounded when the Joint Services arrived.
Richard Jupiter, who is the caretaker of a nearby club, told this newspaper that he was awakened by a burst of gunfire and upon peering out, he saw soldiers ‘swarming the place’.
“Dey tell me go inside and stay low. A li’l while after, I hear hollering and then one more shot,” Jupiter told this newspaper.
He believes that that was when Grant was killed.
Another resident, who lives a short distance from the hideout, said that he too was awakened by the sound of gunshots.
However, he was not alarmed, since army ranks from the nearby base often hunt for wild game in the area.
But when the gunfire intensified, the resident said that he realized that something was amiss.
The man said that he immediately ordered his wife and children to lie on the floor.
Some residents who live near the hideout also claimed that at around that time, they heard voices raised in anger in the vicinity of the shack in which the fugitives had sought refuge.
They also said that after that came more heavy gunfire, followed by a single gunshot.
Kaieteur News was told that shortly after, a group of army ranks went into the house and brought out Grant’s body on a zinc sheet.
According to reports, the shack belonged to Grant’s reputed wife. Some residents said that the woman was present when Grant was shot but fled the scene.
During the operation, the ranks searched several homes and reportedly took two male residents into custody.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene said that some time around 05:45 hours yesterday, two teams of ranks from the Joint Special Operations Group-JSOG and members of the GDF special forces, acting on information proceeded to an area called the prison area, Timehri North, about 500 metres east of the Army’s ammo dump.
Greene said that the ranks came under fire from an identifiable house, during which Corporal Cush was shot in his right hand.
The Acting Commissioner said that having seen three men running from the shack the ranks returned fire.
According to Greene, the men ran into the nearby jungle.
“Descending on the scene, the ranks found the body of a male African lying on the ground. He appeared to have been shot. He was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival,” the Acting Police Commissioner said.
The ranks continued to pursue the two other men who were eventually cornered at about 12:45 hours in a small unfinished concrete building in the Kuru Kururu area.
Greene said that the ranks again engaged the two remaining gunmen and in the ensuing battle, Charles and Rawlins were killed.
A search of the building revealed two AK-47 assault rifles, one of which belongs to the set that was stolen from Camp Ayanganna in 2006.
The ranks also recovered 215 rounds of 7.62X39 ammunition contained in seven magazines.
Greene told the media that both Rawlins and Charles were positively identified by officials of the Georgetown Prison.
Rawlins had been charged with two sets of murders including those of Minister Satyadeow Sawh, his siblings and security guard. He was also wanted for questioning into 16 other murders in addition to the massacres at Lusignan, Bartica and Lindo Creek.
Charles, who escaped from the Sparendaam Police Station lock-ups, where he was attending court for the Satyadeow Sawh murder, had 14 murder matters pending in court, among them the killing of five Kaieteur News pressmen.
Grant was said to have established a home in the Timehri area, which he shared with his pregnant girlfriend in February this year.
Residents said that he caused some terror in the community, since he was always walking around with a cutlass as if he was expecting trouble.
“De man used to give men sleepless nights. Whenever police come around he does disappear. People used to warn me don’t mek story with he, even if he owe we,” Timehri resident Richard Jupiter told this newspaper.
According to Greene, the deaths of ‘Fine Man’ and ‘Skinny’ are by no means the end of the battle against the criminal gang which they reportedly headed, although the security forces have been making significant dents to their establishment.
Since October last year the security forces have been able to kill gang members Malcolm Alleyne, called ‘Coolie Boy’, Aubrey Glasgow called ‘Dread’, Noel James called ‘Baby’, Orlando Andrews called ‘Bullet’, Troy St. John called ‘John I’, Vivian Harris called ‘Bolo’, Otis Fifee called ‘Mud Up’, Cecil Simeon Ramcharran’ called ‘Uncle Willie’ and Robin Chung called ‘Chung Boy’.
According to the Acting Police Commissioner, there are about 25 persons who were either a part of the gang and who were in some way assisting them, currently in custody.
“The search is not over. We want to notify those additional gang members who are still out there that we have not given up the search. We are looking for several men,” Greene stated.
He listed the remaining gang members as Deon Cort, called ‘Capone’, ‘Sonny’; Richard Daniels, called ‘Chucky’, ‘Not Nice’, White Boy called ‘Whitey’, ‘Ratty’, Aubrey, Cliff Chichester and James Gibson among others.
Commodore Gary Best who shared the press conference with the Acting Police Commissioner said that the killing of the men was as a result of a combination of information provided and intelligence gathered by the Joint Services.
“It is not a single call that came from a member of the public. It’s a combination; we acted on our information,” Commodore Best told the media.
He said that it was very likely that the men could have been planning to attack the GDF ammunition dump.
“We did hear that they were in the Timehri area. I suspected that once they’re in Timehri they’re said to be close to a military installation because it is the most unlikely place to look. But it didn’t turn out to be that way.
“I have no information as to whether or not they had any intention. The army ammo dump is a triple-fence area, but again ammunition is something that they need ever so often. I wouldn’t put it past them, the possibility of doing something like that. Of course we are extremely concerned that they were so close to the ammo dump,” Best explained.
He added that every time members of the gang are killed or captured the Joint Services have been progressively recovering smaller quantities of ammunition.
Commodore Best said that the security forces have received significant support from the government to aid in the apprehension of criminal elements.
Best pointed to the acquiring of two surveillance helicopters, one of which was used in yesterday’s operation, and brand new vehicles as well as special bullet-proof vests which can withstand the AK-47 ammunition.
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