– survivor recalls terrifying incident
Winston Frazer, 28, one of the two unarmed men shot by police ranks on Saturday last on D’urban Street and Mandela Avenue might remain paralyzed for the rest of his life.
Frazer and his friend Cecil Sampat, 39, were shot at around 02:00Hrs on the 25th of July, in a car which Frazer was driving at the time. According to reports, the men along with two other friends were traced by ranks from Agricola, East Bank Demerara (EBD) to the location where the officers proceeded to open fire on them.
Frazer and Sampat received gunshots wounds to their backs and were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). There, both men had to undergo emergency operations to repair vital organs that were damaged. This publication has learnt that the bullets have not been removed from the men’s bodies as yet.
Speaking, with Kaieteur News yesterday, Frazer’s wife said that her husband is currently paralyzed from the waist down and is at risk of remaining that way for the rest of his life. Doctors explained to her that this is because the bullet he received is lodged somewhere in the region of his spine. At the current moment the experts are still trying to locate exactly where, but should it be found directly in the spinal cord, chances are slim for him to walk again.
As doctors are actively seeking to locate the bullet, Frazer is still vomiting blood as a result of internal bleeding.
Sampat is also fighting for his life as well in the male High Dependency Unit (HDU). His sister told this newspaper that the GPHC medical team is still conducting x-rays, scans and ultrasounds to assess his condition before attempting to extract the bullets from his body.
Sampat received multiple gunshots wounds to his back. As a result his intestines were severed and had to be repaired by surgery. A bullet is also lodged in his pelvic region and two others in his lungs. The damage to both lungs is so severe that Sampat cannot survive without the assistance of an oxygen machine.
Meanwhile with regards to the investigation into the shooting of the men, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has chosen to remain silent. It has been able to confirm however, that more than a dozen of its officers are still in custody assisting with investigations.Initial reports detailed that the ranks from the Agricola Outpost spotted the car at a party in the area. As they approached the car the men opened fire on them and sped off. The ranks then gave chase and alerted other patrols for assistance and eventually cornered the men on Mandela Avenue. The men were said to have fired at the police officers again who retaliated by firing back.
However, information reaching this publication from sources close to the investigation, had revealed that investigators have been unable to corroborate statements taken from the ranks said to be involved.
Subsequent investigations revealed that police found no firearm in the men’s possession. Nevertheless they proceeded to swab their hands for gun powder residue. Sampat and Frazer were then taken to the hospital while the other two – Seon Greenidge and Joshua Letlow – who were unhurt, were taken into police custody.
Those two have since been released and one of them has decided to share his side of the story. Seon Greenidge claimed that they were all bar hopping that evening, and were at Agricola imbibing Guinness when Sampat told them that he wanted to go home.
The group of four then entered the car to leave. Greenidge said that as they were about to drive off, they noticed men in a parked white pick-up flagging them down.
“We did’nt know it was police so we ignored and continued driving”, continued Greenidge. While the men were approaching Houston they noticed the same white car following them. A few seconds later the car switched on its siren lights and only then did they realize that it was the police.
Greenidge said, “I cannot speak on behalf of Frazer who was driving as to the correct reasons why he did not stop…but I believe that it was because we were under the influence of alcohol and also in breach of the COVID-19 restrictions”.
“As we were approaching The Grill point on Mandela Avenue,” Greenidge said, “we heard loud explosions. At first we thought it was squibs but then Sampat started shouting ‘I get shoot’. Frazer drove a little more but then there was another shot and this time he (Frazer) said ‘Ahhh! Dem man block off the road’”.
Frazer then lost control of the car and crashed into a nearby bread stand.
In a video seen by this publication, a white police patrol car intercepted the men from the front. Officers exited with high powered automatic rifles and took up different positions. The car in which the men were traveling appeared to have slowed down as it approached the police vehicle parked across the road in its path. Nevertheless, the officers took aim and began firing at the car causing it to veer off the road before coming to a halt.
Greenidge recounted that the officers approached the car, opened the doors and dragged them out. They were then gun butted and kicked about the body.
“They beat us up,” the man said, “including Sampat and Frazer who were shot. Sampat started behaving bad and said y’all stop I get shoot but the ranks continued beating him and fire off a round at Sampat to silence him.”
The officers then searched the car, seized their valuables such as cash, gold rings, cell phones, and a small pocket knife before swabbing their hands.
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