– three persons detained, car impounded
Police have detained three men and impounded a silver-grey car that may have been used by the gunmen who killed
security guard Wilfred Stewart and wounded Indian national Mario Gohill during last Monday’s failed robbery at Sterling Products Limited.
Investigators are also going over security camera footage of the attack, and police declined to say whether they had made any significant progress in identifying Stewart’s killers.
Kaieteur News was told that investigators were still working up to late last night on the case.
Police officials confirmed yesterday that the gunmen were armed with at least one assault rifle and a .32 pistol.
Kaieteur News understands that investigators retrieved two 7.62 x 39 casings (used in AK-47 assault rifles) and two .32 shells.
Police sources said that it appears that the gunmen were aware that a “substantial” sum of cash was being kept in a safe on the premises. However, they were unable to gain access to the safe, despite smashing a window in the area where the safe is located.
Kaieteur News also understands that an employee who had the keys for the safe managed to flee to a nearby compound when the gunfire erupted.
While initial reports suggest that as many as six gunmen had stormed the premises, a police release issued yesterday stated that three men carried out the attack.
The release stated that bandits shot 45-year-old Stewart to his groin while he was in the guard room.
“The perpetrators took away the security guard’s service .32 revolver with six rounds and then proceeded to the office area of the building where they shot and wounded chemist Mario Gohill, an Indian National, to his left leg.
The men located a safe that was in the office but were unable to open it and subsequently escaped,” the release stated.
An eyewitness who narrowly escaped the gunmen told Kaieteur News that he and Stewart were in the security hut when a car stopped outside the compound.
He said that “at least ten men,” emerged from the vehicle and barged through the gate.
“As soon as this car stopped, all the men run into the compound and started to shoot. When I see them I run and hide in the yard next door,” the eyewitness said.
“Dem see when I run and two of dem run to find me but they didn’t see when I pull out a mesh on the fence and hide in the next yard, so they were searching the compound for me.”
He added that while fleeing he heard the gunmen discharge about three gunshots at Stewart.
Gohill, who has been working with Sterling Products Limited for the past three months, said that he was in the laboratory when he heard screams. He said before he could have peeped out to see what the commotion was about, a masked man pushed the door open and pointed a gun at him. He said the gunman asked where the money was.
“I showed him my bag and he just shoot me and walked out. He didn’t check my bag,” the injured man said.
Monday’s brazen attack occurred about 200 metres from the Providence Police Station. Kaieteur News was told that the ranks from the station responded immediately on being alerted about the robbery, but the gunmen had already fled when they arrived.
Police sources insist that the ranks, backed up by mobile patrols on the East Bank of Demerara, had the firepower to confront the intruders.
Yesterday, the Guyana Association of Private Security Organizations expressed condolences to Wilfred Stewart’s family. Stewart fathered two daughters and his wife is expecting a third child.
“The Guyana Association of Private Security Organizations (GAPSO) is deeply saddened by the senseless and cowardly killing of Security Officer Wilfred Stewart, on 8th December 2014 while on duty.
“Officer Stewart was a 10-year veteran Security Officer of the Beharry Group of Companies Security Division, attached to the Sterling Products Ltd. The Private Security Industry has been thrown into a state of sorrow as a result of this horribly tragic incident.”
“Security Officers provide a difficult, dangerous, and often thankless work of safeguarding and protecting. As we mourn Officer Stewart, let us also remember it is a dangerous job that people take for granted. Fortunately, this incident does not happen that often, but it can happen. Nevertheless, with unflinching commitment, Security Officers protect our schools and businesses; and keep us safe as we go about our lives. To Officer Stewart’s family, we owe an unpayable debt. And to the men and women who carry his mission forward, we owe our unyielding support.”
“Just as Security Officers are trained to never let down their guard, we must never let slide our thanks. We should extend our thanks not only in times of tragedy, but for every tragedy averted – every accident avoided because of the actions of Security Officers. In other words, we must show our gratitude every day to Security Officers because of the job they have chosen to do.
“GAPSO urges the Police Investigators to now obtain satisfactory answers to the questions surrounding the facts and circumstances of this incident. It is essential that investigators take swift action, providing answers and assuring the perpetrators are brought to justice. This will help ensure a similar act is not committed against other Security Officers.
GAPSO will continue to provide all necessary resources so that Security Officers can get the job done, while investing in training to prepare those on the front lines for potentially deadly situations.
“At this time the Guyana Association of Private Security Organizations members’ thoughts and hearts are with Officer Stewart’s wife, two children and his family and friends. Our prayer is that God will encourage them in this difficult time.”
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