The sister of the now dead Security Guard of Lot 13 Nurney Village, Corentyne, Berbice, believes that the police tried their best to calm down her raging brother who was brandishing a machete Saturday night.
The situation escalated and resulted in the man being shot several times to his foot. He succumbed the following day at the New Amsterdam Public Hospital.
Dead is Mark Johnson, called “Hamin”, 48.
While concerns and opinions began to circulate across Berbice and social media on the incident, many were of the opinion that the police used excessive force in the situation and that it could have been handled better.
Others living in the neighbourhood in Nurney stated that Johnson was the aggressor in the situation.
Kaieteur News spoke with the sister of the dead man, Debra Johnson, who said that her brother was not adhering to the request of the police to drop the cutlass he had in hand.
According to her, her brother had earlier in the day visited his friends’ house a street away and was brought to his Nurney residence by three friends. He was lifted and brought into the yard, she said.
“My sister has a shop downstairs and he lives upstairs but I was there with my sister downstairs. Like around 9:30 in the night his friends came hoisting him and bringing him in the yard; three of them. They put him on the ground and said he drunk and fall in a drain. So he whole skin was in mud, all his hair.
“He is a Rasta and all over had mud. So they ask that they would like to have some water so I get up and I take about four buckets water to them. They wash out he hair and after that they take him upstairs,” Johnson recalled.
She added that one friend remained with him upstairs but after some time they heard loud noises emanating from the upper flat.
“We start hearing loud noise, knock down and so upstairs; breaking up things, so we didn’t get up. But my sister decide to go home and I went home too.
“When I reach home I hear like he come out on the veranda so one of my granddaughter call and she, “Grans, look Uncle Mark come out on the veranda, he gon fall. So I got out the house and went on my veranda but he was making a set of noise and talking up, cursing up and so on.”
Johnson said she decided to call out to her brother and told him he was drunk and that he should go back inside his house but this apparently angered the security guard and he began to hurl whatever he caught hold of, towards her house.
“He pull out the antenna and throw it on my house and bottles at my window. One of my daughters came upstairs and she went on the veranda and was talking to him, telling him that she don’t want to see him go to jail so he started using threatening words to her.
“Then he went inside and take his cutlass and come out and was threatening her with the cutlass,” the woman said.
It was while the commotion was playing out that they noticed a police vehicle patrolling and they called out to alert them of the situation which she said was getting out of hand.
She stated that after the police vehicle stopped, her brother ran down the steps with the cutlass in hand but a policeman exited the vehicle and entered the yard.
He was attempting to quell the situation by talking to the irate and armed Johnson.
“The (policeman) was hanging over my fence and telling Mark to calm down and put down the cutlass. I went on my veranda still and the police was telling him ‘Hello, hello, drop the cutlass.’ “I was also telling him to put down the cutlass but he was not listening to any of us”, the man’s sister said.
According to the woman, she decided to go back in her house but then she heard several shots fired which prompted her to “run back out the house.”
She told this publication that she ran down her steps and unto the road and there she saw her brother being assisted by police ranks into their pick-up to be taken to the hospital.
“I ask them if he get shot and they said yes. I notice shots on the foot but I know he was alive.” She explained, “The way how my brother was behaving you could have expected anything because I was scared for my life. I never saw him in that state; he don’t really drink too.” He was taken to the New Amsterdam Hospital and admitted.
He succumbed on Sunday morning. She said that the Constable who reportedly shot her brother, showed up at the hospital and told her that it was him that fired the shots.
He apologized to the family but stated that it was not his intention to kill him. Johnson’s body is at the New Amsterdam Mortuary.
Officer-in-charge of Crime in Berbice, Chabinauth Singh, confirmed that there was a shooting and that contact should be made with the Commander since he is no longer authorized to provide any details to the media on matters occurring in Berbice.
He said, “They stop us from giving out information; you got to call the Commander for that.” Several attempts were made to contact the Commander Paul Langevine, but all calls went unanswered. Although there has been a difficulty with making contact with senior police officials in the division, this publication was told by a police source that statements were taken from the relatives of the deceased.
The matter is currently under investigation.
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