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Pastor warns against rush to judgment in Warwick murder

Leroy Bean (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda’s gang reduction co-ordinator said Tuesday night’s fatal shooting of a 37-year-old man in Warwick may not have been totally gang-related — even if some of those involved may have been gang members.

Leroy Bean, whose Gang Violence Reduction Team has been in contact with the affected families and communities, said Jordan Outerbridge’s death “did not have to be”.

He added: “I don’t think this is directly gang-related, even as there may be suspected gang members involved. It is obviously a sad, regrettable situation, and we empathise and are giving support to the affected families in this time of despair.

“We have a father, husband, brother, son who has died in a situation that certainly did not have to be and this should sadden and concern all of us.”

Mr Bean has drawn criticism for his role in trying to reduce gang violence, with detractors often downplaying the importance and effectiveness of his role.

But he said his team had spent countless hours in and among those involved in local gangs, as well as liaising with schools and communities which have been recruiting grounds.

He said it was not surprising that violence had increased when the economy’s weakness had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Increasing poverty, unemployment and inferior educational standards had contributed to widening socio-economic gaps and the outcasting of many young — particularly Black — men, he said.

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless,” he said: “The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”