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Police seek witnesses for gun murder

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Jahni Outerbridge

Jahni Outerbridge, a popular resident of Cedar Park in Devonshire, was identified by police yesterday as the victim of a fatal shooting on Sunday night outside the Mid-Atlantic Boat Club.

Recalling him as sociable and free-spirited, regulars at the establishment gathered last night for their usual congenial evening — and said the incident, which is being investigated as a murder, reflected nothing of their club’s welcoming atmosphere.

“I was at the bar and I didn’t hear anything,” said one man, who had been drinking with Mr Outerbridge. “All of a sudden I just saw everybody acting weird. My boy was out laying on the ground.” He called him “a guy that was loved from Somerset to St George’s”.

The 31-year-old was shot at about 11.20pm in the parking lot of the venue on North Shore Road, Devonshire, on a night when police said that about 50 patrons were gathered.

He was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Bermuda has lost another man at the hands of senseless, unscrupulous young men,” Acting Detective Inspector Kenten Trott said, calling for anyone who might have been in the parking lot at the time to contact the authorities.

The assailant “arrived and left on foot”, he said. Police also wish to speak with anyone who drove along North Shore Road from the western part of Spanish Point to Barkers Hill roundabout between 11pm and 11.30pm — as well as anyone who came into contact with Mr Outerbridge on Sunday.

Asked if there were suspected gang links to the shooting, Mr Trott said: “It’s very early in the investigation; it’s too early to call that at this time.”

Mr Outerbridge’s death marks the first murder of 2017, and the year’s second firearms incident.

It is also the second time that someone has been shot dead in the parking lot of the club: in October 2012, Michael Phillips lost his life there. A second man fired several shots inside the club, sending patrons scrambling for cover.

That incident came a month after a 29-year-old man was injured in a shooting there, while Julian Washington was shot and injured in the car park in August 2010.

The club, which last night held a meeting of its executive, responded in 2012 by ramping up security, including bringing in swipe cards at the door. Security guards were keeping watch over the doors on Sunday night.

“It’s a welcoming place,” a female member of the club’s committee told The Royal Gazette.

“It’s very diverse, and it’s just unfortunate that this happened here on our property, but we have measures in place. It’s a members’ club and I don’t want anybody thinking it’s not safe. This was not anybody who hung at the boat club.”

Patrons said they believed Mr Outerbridge had been followed to the premises by his assailant.

“What’s sad is the boat club had just built back up again after what happened,” one man said, referring to Mr Phillips’s death. “We had just started to get over the hump.”

Mr Outerbridge had dropped in for the Sunday Fun Day, said a woman who described him as “the life of a party — if you wanted know where the party is, you’d call Jahni”.

“This guy’s death has had a lot of people react — you can see the outrage, the love,” another man said. “It affected people everywhere. He was free spirited, a joker, and he got around with everybody.”

He added: “I wasn’t even going to come tonight. But I felt a need to.”

According to Mr Trott, CCTV cameras were in operation on North Shore Road.

“Another mother and father now have to bury their son, and the extended family and friends of Jahni are grieving,” he said.

“Jahni truly has gone too soon and as a community we are calling on you to help ensure that justice is served and that Jahni’s family have closure.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Mr Trott, the senior investigating officer, at 441-717-2345 or ktrott1@bps.bm, or to contact the confidential and anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.

On Tuesday morning, PLP MP Diallo Rabain extended his condolences to the family of the murder victim.

“Sadly we have lost another young black man to gun violence,” he said. “Jahni Outerbridge has been taken from his family and my sincere condolences go out to them and all his loved ones.

“There are no words that can convey or comfort enough when a friend or family member has been taken from you in this fashion. Until we get to the point of believing that nothing can be solved with violence, we are destined to see repeat occurrences of what happened on Sunday night and the pain it causes.

“We have a ways to go Bermuda, but I firmly believe that together we can get there. Again, I offer my sincere condolences to all in the community who loved this young man.”

The scene outside the Mid-Atlantic Boat Club in Devonshire, where Jahni Outerbridge was shot dead last night (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)