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Police: ‛miracle’ no one died in Elliott Street shooting

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Detective Sergeant Jason Smith appeals for witnesses to Monday night’s shooting incident (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Police appeal for witnesses at the scene of a shooting off Court Street, Hamilton on Monday night (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Crime Stoppers have offered a reward for information leading to the recovery of firearms.
Police at the scene of last night’s shooting (File photograph)

A detective said yesterday it was “a miracle” innocent people were not hit by a fusillade of gunfire on Monday night.

Detective Sergeant Jason Smith added that people, including children, were in the vicinity at the junction of Elliott Street and Court Street just before 9pm when a 26-year-old man was shot and wounded.

He said that they were “put in harm’s way by the unscrupulous actions of these two men”.

He said: “There were a number of people in the vicinity at the time.

“But there were other people in their homes – it’s a heavily residential area.

“We know that these guys shot at the victim indiscriminately and some of those bullets hit those homes.

“It’s a miracle that no one in any of those homes was injured.”

A woman who said she had family in the area showed where a bullet had gone through the box on her motorcycle, which had been parked on Elliott Street.

She said: “I had my lunch bag in the back. I opened it and wondered why my stuff in there was just shattered, not knowing a bullet went through it. It’s crazy.”

She added: “Everybody must have scattered. It’s scary – it would deter me from coming around.”

An Elliott Street resident last night pointed out where bullets had hit buildings.

He added that one shot had hit the back of a car.

The man said he had heard a volley of shots, but did not go near his window.

He added: “If it hits the window, it will go through. I stay upstairs – what happens downstairs, stays downstairs. I heard it, and that’s all I did.”

The man said there had been “people down here in the street just talking” at the time the shots broke out.

Detective Sergeant Smith said that “multiple” shots were fired, but refused to say how many.

But there were at least 13 evidence markers, used to pinpoint evidence, including spent cartridges, at the scene as police launched their investigation.

Detective Sergeant Smith Detectives was speaking as he appealed for witnesses to the shooting.

He said police would increase patrols in the Court Street area of Hamilton in the wake of the shooting, which happened outside the Bulldogs Sports Lounge.

Detective Sergeant Smith confirmed that the victim was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg, but was later discharged after he was interviewed by police.

He said officers were now working to track down two suspects, who drove on to Elliott Street from Princess Street on a motorcycle.

They took the same route to leave the scene.

The suspects were said to be two men in dark coloured clothing wearing masks and gloves and travelling on a dark coloured motorcycle.

Detective Sergeant Smith said: “A voice message saying that someone was killed last night is not true.”

He added that officers were examining CCTV footage in an attempt to track down the culprits.

Detective Sergeant Smith said: “The Bermuda Police Service is taking robust steps to step up policing, particularly in this area.”

He added that extra patrols would target the area and police armed response teams were also being ramped up.

Renee Ming, the national security minister, said later it was “regrettable” and “disturbing” that the Christmas season had been marred by gun violence.

She added Leroy Bean, of the Gang Violence Reduction Team, had visited the injured man and his family at the hospital.

Ms Ming added: “The GVRT will also be present in the affected area today to meet with businesses and residents to listen to, and address any concerns.

“Of course, as a community we must do what we can to stamp out all forms of violence and antisocial behaviour, so I encourage anyone who has any information about this incident to please share what you know with the police.”

Michael Dunkley, the shadow national security minister, said that the recent increase in gun violence did not mean that more weapons were in circulation.

But he added: “Our challenge is that Covid has swept other issues under the carpet. We still have a significant gang and gun culture in our underworld but many people are becoming numb.

“I was reflecting on the fact that we have had a shooting at nine o’clock on a Monday night – how times have changed.”

Mr Dunkley said: “We talk about zero tolerance but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we need to make sure that we support our police and stop making excuses.”

A police spokesman added that a $5,000 reward was available to anyone who gave information that led to the recovery of a firearm through the Crime Stoppers hotline on 800 8477.

Anyone with information that could help the inquiry should contact 211 or the main police number at 295 0011.

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Published December 30, 2020 at 8:56 am (Updated December 30, 2020 at 8:30 pm)

Police: ‛miracle’ no one died in Elliott Street shooting

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