Man held over shooting murder
A 31-year-old man was arrested yesterday in connection with a gun murder outside a Christmas party at a sports club at the weekend.
The news came after Ronniko Burchall, 30, was shot several times and seriously injured as he stood outside St David’s County Cricket Club in the early hours of Saturday.
Mr Burchall was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but died at 4pm yesterday.
The 31-year-old was arrested in St David’s about 20 minutes after Mr Burchall’s death.
Acting Inspector Jason Smith said a gunman opened fire at about 1.40am as the club was busy with more than 100 guests.
He said: “The suspect left on foot, and it is believed that he ran towards the general area of Cashew City in St David’s.”
Mr Smith added that several people who were at the party had been interviewed, but officers wanted to speak to anyone else who might have information.
He said: “We would like to speak to any persons who were at the club during the incident.
“We are equally interested in communicating with any individuals who may have seen or heard anyone acting suspiciously in the Cashew City Road area.
Mr Smith added that police were keen to trace a car that drove along Cashew City Road just after the shooting.
He said that officers had recovered CCTV footage from the club and asked for anyone else who may have recorded the incident to come forward.
Mr Smith confirmed that the shooting was gang-related.
The club expressed “sincere regrets” in a statement from the executive management, which was posted on its Facebook page Sunday morning.
It said: “Our hearts and minds are currently on those who have been impacted negatively by this event.
“The executive want to encourage everyone no matter what part of our great island you may reside to join us in directing prayers and positive thoughts to the recovery of the injured young man and to the comfort of his family.”
The statement said that the safety of customers was “paramount”.
It added: “We take violent events such as these very seriously and we made sure that every possible measure was in place.”
The statement said that club management as well as security personnel hired for the event acted quickly after the shooting to notify emergency services, make sure the victim received first aid, and kept other party attendees safe.
It added: “Our event stopped immediately and the venue was closed.”
The club said it would not tolerate antisocial behaviour.
It added: “We will continue to strive for the safety of all patrons that come to our facility — that come to our home.”
The statement said that the club was helping police with their investigation.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said that he was “deeply concerned” and promised that anyone involved in the shooting would be held responsible for their “heinous act”.
Mr Caines added: “The Bermuda Police Service are in the early stages of this investigation and they have my full support.”
He said that Pastor Leroy Bean, Bermuda’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator, and the Co-ordinated Crisis Response Team had visited the scene and the hospital, where they “offered support services to the victim’s family and others affected by this traumatic experience”.
Mr Caines added: “These occurrences are becoming more frequent and we must all work together to ensure such behaviour is not normalised.”
Mr Caines said that an increased police presence would be out this weekend and on New Year’s Eve and encouraged those with information about the shooting to come forward.
Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said that acts of violence “by a segment of our population has become the norm”.
The One Bermuda Alliance MP added: “We can put together plans to tackle the issues, have task forces and programmes as much as we want but until Bermuda is fed up with the behaviour and our citizens start to speak up about these individuals, this madness will continue.”
He questioned when “the code of silence” would end “so that neighbourhoods aren’t held hostage by a few bad apples”.
Mr Smith said: “We have many issues in Bermuda that divide us but we cannot continue to make excuses for the small segment that is willing to resort to senseless violence.”
Anyone with information that could help the inquiry should contact the Serious Crime Unit on 295-0011 or the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.