Police Commissioner's Comments
Rarely do we get the chance to save a life. If you have knowledge about illegal weapons - you could save a life by passing it on.
—Commissioner of Police David Baines
At a press conference on Thursday, 9 July, Commissioner of Police, Mr David Baines called on the community to work with the police to bring an end to violence and gun related crime.
Mr Baines first addressed the incident which occurred in West Bay on 8 July which left one man dead, one teenager injured and a child seriously injured. "This was a tragic event which resulted in a 14-year-old boy, a child, being seriously injured," said Mr Baines who called upon the community to really think about what has happened. "The grief and pain the families are feeling right now is tremendous and our sincerest condolences go out to them. I met with one of the families today and saw the very real pain and hurt that they are feeling. We must now work together to reduce this suffering and try and ensure it doesn't happen to another family. This is a devastating time for them."
Mr Baines spoke briefly about the events of last night, confirming that seven young men had been hanging out, minding their own business in a yard of a house when two masked men approached them from the bushes and opened fire. "These men who opened fire on a group of young people for no apparent reason are not heroes. There was no altercation reported, there was no dispute. What they did is not courageous and should not be seen as 'cool'," said Mr Baines.
Police and medics responded to the scene and first aid was provided to the victims. Members of the public also assisted and for that they are to be commended. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, one man, 20-year-old Marcus Ebanks, passed away at the hospital.
Mr Baines informed the media that a Major Incident Room is operating from West Bay police station and the enquiry is being led by Superintendent Kurt Walton, supported by a team of detectives. He confirmed that four people have been arrested in connection with the shooting, but urged caution when drawing conclusions from that. "Police use the powers of arrest for various reasons, it does not automatically mean charges will be forthcoming," said Mr Baines. "In any enquiry there are people that need to be questioned so police can ascertain certain information about their involvement."
The Commissioner went on to stress that assistance from the public is essential. Referring to the shooting of a 28-year-old man on Saturday night, he said that people have been less than supportive. "We rely on information. We rely on the community," he said. "Anyone who has information needs to visit their conscience. You cannot justify saying that this is a police issue, we all need to take responsibility for what is happening and play our part in addressing it."
The public was urged to use any method they feel comfortable with to pass information to the police. Mr Baines said that members of the public could speak with an officer they know and trust, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously. He also gave two dedicated cell numbers for the investigation team. "If you call these numbers you will reach the investigation team directly and you can remain anonymous if you want to," Mr Baines stressed.
Efforts that are being made to reassure the community were outlined, including the proactive work being carried out by Area Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell. "Ms Howell was busy last night and has been out today addressing concerns, meeting with the community and making herself available for anyone who would like to talk," said Mr Baines.
Mr Baines concluded by stating that even one weapon in Cayman is too many. "We need to work together to reduce gun crime and acts of violence. We don't want any more families to experience the pain that two families are going through at the moment. Rarely do we get the chance to save a life. If you have knowledge about illegal weapons - you could save a life by passing it on. In fact, if you pass it on, you could save someone close to you."
The dedicated numbers for the investigation team are 926-1773 and 926-3975. These numbers will be answered 24 hours a day and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.