Investigation progressing ‘quite well’, but motive for murder is still a mystery
Police hunting the killer of Perry Puckerin are progressing “quite well” but need the public to help them solve what appears to be a murder almost without motive.“Sometimes there isn’t a motive,” he told
Detective Chief Inspector Nicholas Pedro, who is in charge of Bermuda Police Service’s special investigations department, said his team had interviewed everyone at the Hamilton Workman’s Club on the night of the fatal shooting.
But he said no obvious reason had emerged to explain why Mr Puckerin, 34, was targeted on January 3, 2010, other than his connection to the 42 gang and its ongoing battle with rival Parkside.
The senior officer said it was difficult to determine a precise motive, other than simply the “gang situation”.
The Royal Gazette. “It’s just this retribution factor that arises: ‘you shoot my boy, I’m going to shoot your boy’. That’s what makes these shootings challenging.
“When we can identify a motive in other types of homicide, it actually makes it a lot easier. But in these [gang] murders, we are relying on merely finding out who did it. It’s not like your traditional whodunit.”
Det Ch Insp Pedro pointed to the trio of killings the previous month of Kumi Harford, Garry Cann and Shane Minors and said Mr Puckerin’s death was certainly linked to those.
“We have to look at the context of what was happening at the time. This was January 2010; we’d come out of a particularly bloody month.
“The month of December 2009 was particularly violent so in the context of that, I think it would be fair to say this was part of that cycle of violence.”
He said it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to connect Mr Puckerin’s murder with the fatal shooting of alleged Parkside member Mr Cann on December 15, 2009.
“It’s quite obvious what was going on,” said the detective. “We know of incidents where opposing gang members had run-ins and by no means was the previous murder the only incident before that.”
His officers have pursued several lines of inquiry, including probing a fire which took place about 20 minutes after father-of-three Mr Puckerin was gunned down.
“We believe it’s linked to it,” said Det Ch Insp Pedro. “Certainly, if you look at the Kumi Harford trial, which has concluded and someone was convicted in that murder, we saw there was a shooting, a murder and, right after that, immediately following, a fire.
“Certainly, at the time, that appeared to be an MO of people. Shoot and then go and burn your clothes. We consider the two things to be linked.”
He said of Mr Puckerin: “I think it would be fair to say, in our dealings with him, he was a gang member.”
The murder victim’s family deny he was a gang member, insisting he simply grew up in the St Monica’s Road area, considered the heartland of 42, and had many lifelong friends from the neighbourhood.
Det Ch Insp Pedro said Hamilton Workman’s Club, where Mr Puckerin was socialising with friends, was a venue where 42 members would feel comfortable.
“It wasn’t that he was in someone else’s territory,” he said. “I think it’d be fair to say the person that killed him merely knew he was there and took the opportunity to do so, knowing that it was a place that was frequented by 42 members.”
A lone gunman was responsible for shooting Mr Puckerin at about 9.30pm at the entrance to the club, on Workmens Lane, Crawl Hill, and detectives still don’t know if he was aided by anyone else.
“We can’t rule out that that person may have had assistance or was with someone when he left the club,” said Det Ch Insp Pedro.
“Clearly, from what witnesses have told us, it was a lone gunman at the club. It’s entirely possible that the person had assistance elsewhere or nearby.
“Part of our witness appeal is [to find out] whether you saw one person or two.”
He added: “At this point, we also don’t know how the suspect was travelling. They were certainly on foot when they came up to the establishment but could have left in a car or on a bike.”
This newspaper understands the shooter, who entered the club grounds from the direction of Radnor Estate Road, may have been caught on closed-circuit television footage captured by a camera high up on a pole opposite the door to the premises.
Det Ch Insp Pedro wouldn’t comment on that but confirmed the gunman left the way he came after ending Mr Puckerin’s life.
He said officers had exhausted their inquiries with regards to witnesses who were at the club that evening.
“In terms of the public, we want anyone that has general information or may have seen someone in the area at the time to come forward,” he said.
He described the murder inquiry as having progressed “quite well”, adding: “We have forensics and eyewitness evidence that has gotten us fairly well along.
“Obviously, we still need more information to bring the matter before the courts. There will have been people on Radnor Estate Road that will have been travelling along that road, people who have seen something that came to their attention.
“Someone may have seen something that jogs their memory. They may remember it very well because someone was murdered in what’s normally a very quiet area.”
He urged anyone with information to “do the right thing” and contact police.
l Part four of our series on Bermuda’s unsolved gang murders will appear in
The Royal Gazette on Monday, September 19, when we’ll focus on the March 2010 shooting of 26-year-old James Lawes. We want to speak to anyone affected by the shootings who has yet to see justice done. If you’d like to share your story, call 278-0133 or e-mail news[AT]royalgazette.bm