– served 14-yr-sentence for killing colleague in Haiti
By Rabindra Rooplall
Panic gripped the East Bank Demerara community of Prospect at around 14.45 hrs yesterday after a 43-year-old ex-soldier shot a female neighbor before killing himself with a firearm he had snatched from a policeman.
Samuel La Fleur, a former Special Forces rank who had killed one of his colleagues some 17 years ago, first shot his neighbor, 34-year-old Oneika Lyttle in the right arm, before placing the weapon in his mouth and pulling the trigger. He was taken from his Lot 193 Back Road Prospect house and rushed to the East Bank Demerara Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His body was then taken to the Lyken Funeral Parlour.
The wounded Oneika Lyttle was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. Police retrieved a handgun and several spent shells from the scene.
Relatives disclosed that La Fleur, who reportedly had a drug habit and was also mentally unstable, had threatened to kill members of his family shortly before the attack. His wife lives in Trinidad and the ex soldier and father of three had lived with his parents.
Neighbours said that La Fleur and one of his neighbours were not on terms for awhile and for unknown reasons his anger escalated yesterday. Kaieteur News understands that he made calls to other relatives who sought to calm him down. But then he became verbally abusive and began pacing the road near his home.
At that time, a cousin who is a police constable visited the Le Fleur home to pick up some clothing. According to reports, the enraged La Fleur, who had returned to the house, punched the police constable and after overpowering him, took the cop’s revolver. The policeman was reportedly forced to flee for his life after La Fleur pointed the gun at him.
Gun in hand, La Fleur then went over to the neighbour with whom he had the dispute and fired multiple shots at two men sitting on the veranda.
“He (La Fleur ) go in the yard and ask me for Curtis who is my brother in law, and them boys come out and tell he Curtis not home. He then say them boys lying and he lick two shots upstairs at them,” a resident said.
“I thought was kicks or fun this man deh pun. I see he walking up and down the road like he got problems, I didn’t know it would have ended like this,” another resident said.
According to one report, Oneika Lyttle and her son took refuge in a room after hearing the gunshots. She was reportedly wounded after a bullet pierced the bedroom wall. It was at this point that Le Fleur ran back into his parents’ home and shot himself.
“No one understand up to now what really happen to him, or his reason for behaving like that,” one man said. “This man don’t mix or mingle with nobody. This man is use a lot of weed and drugs and his own cousin is bring it for him, maybe this had caused him to trip and get crazy.”
“Apparently Curtis (the neighbor with whom La Fleur had a dispute) was bringing out his sheep couple weeks ago and he must have knocked he (La Fleur’s ) bird cage which was on a stick, and his bird fall down. Curtis didn’t say sorry or anything because the two of them don’t talk,” one eyewitness to the tragedy said.
“This man is an ignorant man. About two or three years ago he (La Fleur) had a problem by where he pelt down we house and break up all the windows, this happened to both neighbours, so nobody don’t have nothing to tell he,” yet another neighbor told this publication. “Nobody don’t mix with he, he went in jail for murdering his fellow soldier in Haiti.”
“Nobody in the neighbourhood talks to this man! This man is behave very stupid when he get ready, nobody really talks or deals with this man at all.”
Another said “This back road got to return to normal, everybody want to show off and behave stupid. That one that dead like to smoke up the drugs and get on stupid, now he gone people will get an ease.”
There were also suggestions that La Fleur became mentally unstable after being jailed for killing another rank, and that his drug use aggravated his condition.
Gunned down college in Haiti
Samuel La Fleur, then a Special Forces rank, was only 26 when, on January 19, 1997, he shot and killed his fellow soldier, Corporal Lindon Alleyne, while serving with the Caricom contingent of the United Nations peace-keeping forces in Haiti. This was just days before the Guyana contingent with the peace-keeping forces was due to return home at the end of their three-month assignment.
The court martial, which was held at GDF Headquarters, Camp Ayanganna, heard that the crime was committed at a camp in the town of Les Cayes. La Fleur shot Alleyne several times with a Beretta while the victim was fleeing. It was alleged that La Fleur was drunk, and had threatened Alleyne the previous day.
He was initially charged with murder, but later pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.
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