Shooting in Court Street bears ‘hallmarks of a gang crime’
The daylight shooting on Court Street that resulted in two men being wounded bore all the hallmarks of a gang crime, the acting police commissioner said last night.
Darrin Simons said police were unsure whether yesterday’s shooting was linked to a similar incident eight days ago in which two 19-year-old men were shot but that he had declared it a “critical incident”.
He said that the men’s injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
“The investigations are in their infancy but it is safe to say that this has all the hallmarks of a gang-related incident – the potential connection between the two events is unknown at this time,” he added.
Police yesterday cordoned off part of Court Street in Pembroke after the two men - said to be 31 and 73 years old - were injured in a drive-by shooting.
More than a dozen uniformed officers were in the area, with a series of plastic cups – used to mark evidence – in the southbound lane near a pair of parked cars.
Police have also urged people circulating images of the two wounded men on social media to stop and to delete them.
“Think of how you would feel were it your loved ones who were so brutally attacked and harmed,” a police spokesman said. “Would you like to see those images circulating on social media?”
Chief Inspector Peter Stableford of the Serious Crime Unit said the shooting took place at about 1.45pm.
“Two persons have been injured,” he said yesterday. “They are being treated for their injuries at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital at the moment – the hospital is in lockdown.
“This is the very early stages of this. We will be looking at every option as to what the cause and motives are.
“The only information I have at the moment is it was two persons in dark clothing on a motorcycle. They came over Till’s Hill, they shot at two males near the side of the wall and drove off again.”
Mr Stableford urged anyone with information to come forward, expressing disappointment in the lack of people willing to do so.
“We made this appeal last week. People just aren’t coming forward,” he added.
“People see what happens, but they are not speaking to us. We need that assistance and the public’s help here to target these people and bring these individuals to justice.
“Please help us make Bermuda a safer place. We need that.”
Mr Simons echoed the frustration adding: “Clearly, Court Street is a seed of active tensions that needs to be disrupted and the public can expect to see increased patrols and engagement in and around the area.
“I have spoke with investigators after the incident and they have expressed a degree of frustration about community members not coming forward and assisting us.
“I appreciate that for some there may be a sense of fear connected with that. We certainly have processes in place to deal with that. We can’t do this alone, we need your help. There are people who know exactly what happened.
“The reality is, if you are not helping us you are in a way facilitating the problem and we want to get to the bottom of this problem and bring the individuals to justice.”
Renee Ming, the Minister of National Security, who visited the scene of the shooting, also urged anyone with information to come forward. She said the incident was particularly concerning as it happened in broad daylight with members of the community close by.
Ms Ming said: “We need to look at who we are really as a community. This is a community issue and we need to make sure we are addressing it like that.
“We also need to be encouraging people if they know something to say something because it is not going to get better if we don’t all work together.”
She said she was concerned with the recent incidents of violence.
“It is very disturbing and we are obviously going to be taking this away to have discussions, not just with the Gang Violence Reduction Team, but with the BPS as well,” Ms Ming added.
“We aren’t ignorant of what is going on, so we have to look at it and develop strategies around it.”
The shooting comes after two 19-year-old men were shot on Court Street on July 25. Several shots were fired on the block between Dundonald and Elliot Street.
At the time, Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford confirmed both of those men were known to police.
Anyone with information on the shootings should call the independent, confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477, the serious crime unit at 247-1749, or the police line 211.