Gunfire and machete attack mar holiday
Partygoers looking to bring in the Good Friday holiday ended up running for their lives when gunshots broke out on the upper floor of Somerset Cricket Club in the early hours of yesterday.
And later yesterday a man was taken to hospital following a machete fight on a car park next to Southampton Rangers cricket club, yards from where children played on a bouncy castle.
About eight men are said to have been involved in the fight, shortly after 6pm, while a fun day took place at the cricket club.
In the Somerset incident, police say one man was reportedly grazed on the head by a bullet. He was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial via ambulance.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the early morning incident yesterday.
“Police responded to reports of gunshots in the area of Somerset Cricket Club around 2.45am Friday. Officers arrived on scene and conducted an investigation immediately.
“One man was injured and his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.”
A hospital spokeswoman confirmed that he arrived at the Emergency Ward at about 3.30am. She said: “He was discharged before I came on duty at 8am.”
Sources told this newspaper that more than one person was grazed and when the gunshots rang out there was mass pandemonium with hundreds of people either ducking, hitting the floor or running for the exit.
By Friday afternoon several children were enjoying a family fun day hosted by Somerset Cricket Club (SCC) for Good Friday. But it was clear news of the incident was rippling through the surrounding neighbourhood areas.
One area resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I don't know what the heck is going on these days, all I can do is shake my head.”
Another source said: “Everyone is keeping real quiet on this one, the word is there was some sort of rift between a certain Somerset group and a group from St George's, that's really all I care to say.”
SCC President Alfred Maybury was informed of the incident. Club sources confirmed that SCC rented the club for a privately sponsored party. Efforts to reach Mr Maybury to find out if this latest incident will affect club rental policy moving forward were unsuccessful by press time.
Residents in Somerset questioned why police did not have a physical presence outside the club during the early morning hours. One resident, who asked not to be named said: “It's common sense, especially when you take notice that we usually have shooting incidents during the first week of the month.”
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said the Southampton fight spiralled quickly, with one man saying: “All hell broke out.
“I was pulling down my kite and then I just saw all these guys start chopping each other. It was crazy, man, crazy.
“There were kids nearby running around. Everyone was next door for the family fun day.”
Another man said: “I saw one man come out with a machete and then they all started having a go at each other. I was shocked.”
The victim's condition was last night said not to be life-threatening, although witnesses said he appeared to have been chopped in the head.
A large section of the car park was closed off with police tape last night, with several officers guarding the scene.
Club members stressed the violence had nothing to do with their club, with one man saying: “I was downstairs having a good time, then I came upstairs and heard all this had happened. This was supposed to be a day of fun.”
On Good Friday two years ago, Kimwandae Walker, 35, was gunned down at Victor Scott Primary School's kite-flying event, which was attended by scores of children, including his own son and daughter.
Two men rode onto the school field on a motorcycle and shot Mr Walker in what police described as one of the most heinous murders in recent times. To date no one has been charged with his murder.
When contacted by
The Royal Gazette, Public Works Minister Michael Weeks, who is also vice president of Western Stars Sports Club, was disappointed and outraged.
“As someone very involved in the sporting clubs I am disgusted by the continued escalation of violence and want to caution the fans of these clubs and Bermuda as a whole from getting too complacent or immune to the bouts of this senseless gun violence and violent attacks with offensive weapons,” said Mr Weeks.
Appealing to the community at large to break the silence, the Pembroke East Central MP said: “We must continue to report any incidents occurring as they happen. And we must encourage our young people to not involve themselves in this negative activity, but to continue to speak out against it.
“The BPS continue to be vigilant in bringing those guilty to trial. I must reiterate that our community has an important role to play in bringing an end to these serious crimes.”
Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information is encouraged to contact the main police number at 295-0011, or the independent and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 800-8477.