Almost the entire Dazzell Housing Scheme, Paradise, East Coast Demerara, is in a state of shock following the revelation that one of the gunmen killed in last Friday’s shootout at the Cromarty, Foreshore in Berbice was Cranston Hugh Gill.
Gill, 21, of Eighth Street, Dazzell Scheme had told his parents and other relatives that he was leaving last Wednesday for the interior.
They were shocked when they recognised him among the portraits in the Kaieteur News as one of the dead bandits.
“I hear the papers man saying ‘Y’all family get kill in Berbice. Look he deh in de papers’. When I look at the paper, at first I did not want to believe,” said a relative of the slain gunman.
The relative said that another family member later called and confirmed that it was Cranston Gill.
Police in a press release gave the dead man’s name as Hugh Gillis of Paradise.
Family members claimed that although they knew he was a friend of Cliff Chichester, who also resided in the area, they never had the slightest clue about what he was into. Chichester was another of those slain in Berbice.
Police said that Gill had previously been arrested and charged for a robbery under arms committed on a fellow villager.
Relatives believe that he must have linked up with a notorious gang through his friendship with Chichester.
They claimed that after Gill was charged, he solicited help from Chichester to finance payment for an attorney. They believe that that led him into a life of crime.
Apart from that, Gill was known by neighbours as a quiet unassuming person, who did not show any criminal tendencies.
According to relatives, Gill had spent time at Philip Bynoe’s camp at Christmas Falls.
He had even taken a friend there but the friend was reluctant to get involved in whatever was being planned.
“He went at Christmas Falls. When y’all put de picture of the camp in the papers he show me where he used to tie his hammock,” a relative of Gill’s friend told this newspaper.
Gill’s relatives were also shocked that Chichester was involved in criminal activities. Chichester, a former Guyana Defence Force Cadet Officer and President’s College student, was linked to the Rose Hall bank heist in 2006.
“First time I hear when Cliff went in the Berbice robbery, I was like, ‘Cliff? How Cliff could get into something like that? I get to know him through his sister. And I said, ‘This is not the Cliff I know and this is something I expect’,” one of Gill’s relatives told this newspaper.
The relative said that when they saw the newspaper yesterday, they were surprised to see that both Gill and Chichester were linked with the other dead gunman, James Gibson. Both Gibson and Chichester had attended President’s College where Chichester’s father was the Principal at one time.
Gibson was held with Oliver Hinckson ata house on Aubrey Barker Street, South Ruimveldt, where the security forces recovered an unlicensed revolver a few years ago.
“Is now we know wha going on,” the relative said.
This newspaper visited the home of Gibson’s relatives in South Vigilance, East Coast Demerara and was not facilitated with an interview.
“We have no comment to make. Y’all done print what y’all gat to print, so we not saying anything,” a female relative told the reporters.
Police said that when they went to Gibson’s home on Friday morning to enquire about his whereabouts shortly after news of the shooting had been relayed, relatives told them that the now dead man had left for Georgetown.
However, the police insisted that they should travel to Berbice instead to verify if one of the men killed was indeed him. They subsequently did.
Chichester’s mother’s home in First Street, Dazzell Housing Scheme was tightly shut and this newspaper was told that she had traveled to Berbice to identify her son’s body.
An early morning shootout just after 06:00 hours on Friday on the Cromarty Foreshore, Corentyne, also left Detective Constable Oslen Trevis Glasgow, 25, of Fyrish, dead. He was stationed at the Whim Police Station.
Constable Glasgow was shot in the abdomen when a bullet fired from one of the bandits’ AK-47 pierced his bullet proof vest.
A fisherman, Hector Boodhoo, 57, of Rose Hall, Corentyne, was the other person killed, a victim of the gunmen.
His body was found tied to a tree at the Port Mourant Foreshore about 05:50 hours yesterday, with marks to the head suggesting that he had been struck.
Police in a press release said that they recovered two AK-47 rifles, one 12 gauge pump-action shotgun, seven AK-47 magazines, 178 rounds 7.62 x 39 ammunition, fourteen 12 gauge cartridges, 28 rounds .30 ammunition, 17 rounds .40 ammunition, six rounds .45 ammunition and 1 round 9mm. ammunition.
One of the AK-47 rifles has been identified as being from among those stolen from the GDF in 2006.
Police also recovered an open pack of Bristol cigarettes, a wristwatch, a toothbrush, a phone and battery charger, a bottle of roll-on deodorant, a bottle machine oil, a spanner, a CRF multi-purpose oil, one bottle of Skin-so-Soft cream, a haversack, two pouches, articles of clothing, a quantity of what is suspected to be cannabis sativa, a used bag of whole wheat tennis rolls from Humphrey’s Bakery, a belt, ski-mask and other paraphernalia.
It was confirmed that the gunmen were responsible for the hijacking of two boats in the Atlantic Ocean three days ago.
The men had stolen the engines from two fishing crew, leaving four fishermen to drift ashore.
One of the boats was recovered by the GDF at Mahaicony on Thursday.
The fishermen subsequently identified the dead bandits as the men who had attacked them.
The drama continued Friday at around 04:00 hours when the men attacked a fishing boat belonging to 51-year-old Bishan Motilall at the Rose Hall Foreshore, Corentyne.
Motilall had just returned from sea and was mooring his fishing boat when the men appeared from among the bushes and held him up. They then took away his boat and engine and escaped.
Motilall told police that the men ordered him to remove his seine from the boat, and from all indications they were only interested in a boat and engine.
The police believe that the men were planning a major heist in the Corentyne area and were in the process of securing getaway transportation.
According to information received by this newspaper, Boodhoo was seen by Motilall while the bandits were attacking him. That was the last time he saw him alive.
Police believe that the men had held Boodhoo hostage since the previous day.
According to the police press release, their ranks in Berbice received a call at about 06:00 hours yesterday informing them about a suspicious boat on the Cromarty/Wellington Park Foreshore. Three men suspected to be pirates were seen paddling the vessel. Ranks including Detective Constable Oslen Glasgow responded immediately.
The team moved through the Cromarty backlands and on reaching the foreshore area, they came under fire from the bandits. Constable Glasgow was mortally wounded in that initial confrontation.
The remaining ranks secured the area and summoned back-up. The subsequent exchange led to the demise of the bandits.
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