Court Street shootings caused by internal gang rift, police believe
Police have said the daylight shooting of two men on Monday – including a senior – was believed to be linked to a rift within one of the island’s gangs.
Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Nicholas Pedro said yesterday morning that the community should be outraged about the violent attack on Court Street.
“It’s obviously very distressing for everyone, including the friends and family of that retired gentleman who was just out enjoying his afternoon,” he said.
“Understandably he, his family and members of the community would be outraged – I would like to think they would be outraged that someone like that would be caught in the crossfire.”
Mr Pedro said it was hoped and anticipated that the two men shot on Monday – a 31-year-old and a 73-year-old who was an innocent bystander – would make full recoveries.
He said that investigations into both that shooting and another that took place on Court Street just eight days prior are ongoing and no arrests have been made.
In the earlier incident, two 19-year-old men were shot on July 25 on the block between Dundonald and Elliot Street.
Mr Pedro added that the Bermuda Police Service hopes to bring those responsible for the recent shootings to justice, but they need the public’s help to do so.
He said: “We need the community to help us. We say this time and time again, but the reality is we cannot do it without the assistance of the public.
“We implore anyone that knows anyone harbouring a gun or areas where people who engage in gun play are to contact us.”
Jason Hayward, the MP for Pembroke Central, addressed the public’s reluctance to come forward after Court Street’s second shooting in just over a week.
“The apprehension to assist the police is not unique to this community,” Mr Hayward said.
“Unless we collectively address the root causes of the violent behaviours demonstrated, the cycle will continue.”
He added: “I have spoken to a number of residents and business owners and they have indicated that they would like to see a greater police presence and a more effective use of cameras.
“The businesses in the area would love to have increased foot traffic and the residents certainly desire a safer community. Both of these things are compromised by the behaviours witnessed.”
Asked about public hesitancy to give information to police, Mr Pedro said: “I think it’s really about people overcoming the fear initially, and we can take over and do the rest, but we need to get the information initially.
“There are many ways for people to provide information to us, whether anonymously or confidentially, but at some point we need to get people to court and we need people to be witnesses.
“If people want to make a difference and see the community as they want it to be, then they need to do the right thing and start turning people in and not giving people safe harbour who deal in gang-related activity.”
Mr Pedro said that, based on the information received by police, it appeared the violence was caused by a rift in an area gang that has caused factions to form.
“This spate of violence that we are currently experiencing seems to he the result of a feud within one particular gang in the North Hamilton area, where there is currently a tit-for-tat cycle that is going on between different factions in the same gang,” he said.
“We are working diligently to address that, and to that end we have assembled a dedicated gang reduction suppression team that will be led by a chief inspector on the ground that will be addressing those in the community that are causing the most harm.”
He added that police were concerned about the recent violence and are taking the matters very seriously.
Mr Pedro said: “We will demonstrate that through the use of our resources and we will hopefully bring those offenders to justice – but we need the communities to help us.”
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.