Two arrests after Court Street shooting
A 32-year-old man was injured, and two people arrested, after a gunman fired into a group of people early yesterday as they stood outside a Hamilton nightclub.
Police said the victim was struck in the left shoulder or upper back outside the Spinning Wheel on Court Street.
The gunman then ran inside the club and fired a shot, with no one hit, before making his escape.
The incident marred a year in which only one other person was injured by guns: a 64-year-old man who was wounded in the shoulder on October 3 in St David’s.
An anti-violence activist warned yesterday: “It’s concerning, because what often happens with an incident like this is it awakens the giant.”
Gina Spence added: “Depending on who was shot, it can bring that escalation of them against us.”
The victim was taken to hospital before police arrived at the scene, with injuries that were not considered life threatening.
A police spokesman said he would have to be flown overseas for further treatment. The attack started just before 1.30am when an armed man walked on to Court Street.
Police said the suspect ran towards the group outside the bar and opened fire.
Afterwards, the suspect fled the Spinning Wheel, running north on Court Street and escaping through the parking lot on Elliott Street.
Acting on information gathered, police yesterday arrested two male suspects, aged 31 and 19, but have continued to appeal for witnesses.
Ms Spence, the head of the charity Gina Spence Productions, said despite this year’s drop in gun crime: “I never take my eyes off. I know that in spite of the fact it’s been down, there are still guns out there — we know that.
“As long as it’s still in the street, there will be incidents. We shouldn’t ever get comfortable and accept that it’s over. We should be vigilant and prepared for anything.”
Ms Spence said there had been “an unusual kind of hush” in the wake of the attack.
She added: “It’s been strange. Usually talk about who it is goes through the community like fire. This has been quite different.
“This saddens me — prior to Christmas I was really grateful I didn’t receive any calls over any incidents.
“This keeps us aware that while it’s not happening at the same level, nonetheless we always have to be proactive.”
At the scene, Acting Inspector Dorian Astwood was unable to say whether the shooting was gang-related.
It came less than ten days after Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, unveiled figures at the House of Assembly showing a sharp drop in violent crime.
Speaking on December 13, Mr Caines warned that his ministry would not “rest on its laurels”.
The minister called on the community to “roll up our sleeves to assist with stamping the gang culture out of our island”.
Police last night said that “a number of individuals” had assisted with inquiries.
• Anyone with information please contact Detective Inspector Kenten Trott on 295-0011. Details can also be given anonymously at the confidential Crime Stoppers number, 800-8477
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