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Police warn gun criminals will be tracked down after increase in shooting incidents

Strong message: Assistant Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels (File photograph)

A senior police officer yesterday sent a stark message to gunmen – they will be hunted down and brought to justice.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels was speaking after a spate of shootings in the past month – all believed to be gang-related.

Mr Daniels said officers were working around the clock to solve the crimes – and were confident that the perpetrators would be convicted.

There have been six firearms incidents since two men were gunned down at The Robin Hood Pub in Hamilton in October – five of them in the last month, including two this week.

Mr Daniels admitted there had been a rise in gun crime in recent weeks but denied that the problem had spiralled out of control.

He said much of the violence was carried out by a small minority of people linked to criminal gangs and that guns were being used to settle disputes.

Mr Daniels added: “We have noticed a recent worrying trend of more and more of our young men finding it necessary to carry bladed articles for protection or to inflict injury.

“But to those shooters who are destabilising our community, just be aware that we are watching you and you will be brought to justice.”

Mr Daniels said that much of the recent gang violence was sparked by the Robin Hood murders, which claimed the lives of Micah Davis and Ayinde Eve.

Two other men, one of them an off-duty police officer, were injured in the attack.

Mr Daniels said: “I wouldn’t say things are spiralling out of control at the moment. We analyse a lot of data and right now, the number of these incidents is moderate to high.

“Much of the gun violence can be linked to the internal feuding within the Parkside gang – however, there is still a disturbing trend of gun violence particularly within Pembroke, involving victims loosely linked to gangs, or otherwise involved in disputes for other reasons.

“Of course it’s a concern. There seems to be a growing trend for these gang members to use guns to settle disputes. Previously they’d just sort it out by talking or whatever.”

Mr Daniels added that the number of tit-for-tat attacks could have been higher – but intelligence showed that key gang members had fled the island.

He said that several arrests in connection with the incidents had also acted as a deterrent.

Mr Daniels added: “I think that’s dampened enthusiasm for retaliation.”

He emphasised: “The Bermuda Police Service has made a number of adjustments to combat the gun and gang problem and continues to evolve, with a heavy focus on leveraging technology to assist in bringing offenders to justice, in addition to all of the other initiatives in place.”

Mr Daniels said that there were additional concerns that guns were becoming more common – and that agencies needed to take a more collaborative approach to cut the supply chain.

He admitted: “It’s a challenge because we don’t manufacture anything and so everything is shipped in.

“There’s such a big volume of imports, trying to trace guns or drugs or any other contraband can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Mr Daniels said: “Once a weapon gets into the island and gets into the wrong hands, the police have to do a great deal of chasing around. Obviously, prevention is far better than cure.”

Mr Daniels said the backlog of firearms cases was “a jig-saw puzzle” that detectives were piecing together through intelligence.

He added that the curfew – imposed by the Government to stem a recent spike in Covid-19 cases – had also helped police to keep the lid on criminal activity.

Mr Daniels said: “With fewer vehicles on the roads, it makes it easier to identify, track and trace anything that’s suspicious.”

He also warned that police would be out in force tomorrow – New Year’s Eve – to keep tabs on gang activity and curfew breakers.

Mr Daniels said police would be on foot patrol to make sure that bars and restaurants were shut before the 12.30am curfew.

He added that areas identified as “high risk” criminal hotspots – such as north-east Hamilton and Pembroke – would be a focus of police attention.

He said the service would have “a weekend policing plan” where resources overlap.

Mr Daniels added: “As well as regular patrols, our motorcycle section will be on the roads and a police support unit to make sure bars are closed.”

Manpower will be boosted by reserve police officers and the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard will be on patrol on the water.

Mr Daniels appealed to the public “stick together” over the present crime wave and insisted that criminals would not win.

He said the force was working on increased public engagement through its parish constable scheme

Mr Daniels added: “Let’s not be fearful of the small minority who are destabilising the community and want to make Bermuda unsafe.

“The regular community needs to stick together. If you see something, say something.”

Anyone with any information that could help police inquiries should call 211 or the confidential and anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 800 8477.

A year of violence

There have been 13 confirmed firearms incidents in 2021 – and three deaths. Another 11 victims have suffered gunshot wounds.

The statistics are the highest since 2012, when there were 21 attempted murders all firearms-related.

Of the seven people murdered this year, three were shot, three were stabbed and one died as a result of a beating.

December 29: one man injured in a shooting on Mount Hill, Pembroke.

December 29: one man shot in the leg in an incident Cambridge Road in Sandys.

December 28: police responded to reports of shots fired in the area of Deepdale and Parsons Road in Pembroke.

Spent ammunition and live rounds were found at the scene.

December 10: police responded to reports of several shots fired in the area of One-Way Deepdale and Parsons Road in Pembroke.

November 29: police heard gun shots in the area of Court Street and Dundonald Streets in Pembroke. One man was injured.

November 20: after reports of a man being shot and injured on Court Street, police located a man in Middletown with a bullet wound to his left foot.

October 26: Ayinde Eve and Micah Davis, were gunned down when two armed men went to the Robin Hood Pub on Pembroke’s Richmond Road. Two other men were injured

August 27: police and paramedics were sent to a house on Orange Hole Road, St George’s after reports of gunfire. The victim had been shot multiple times, but survived.

August 2: police got several 911 calls about a shooting at the junction of Court and Angle Streets in Pembroke.

A motor cycle with two men on board travelled over Tills Hill and the passenger fired at men sitting on a wall beside the road. Two men received non-life threatening gunshot injuries. The injured were taken to hospital for treatment and later released. Several spent cartridges were recovered at the scene

July 25: police received several 911 calls about shots fired outside the Spinning Wheel nightclub on Court Street, Pembroke. Two men received non-life threatening wounds.

June 16: 2021, police responded to an alert over gunshots at Darrell’s Wharf in Warwick and found a man who had been shot several times.

April 6: Jordan Outerbridge was shot dead on the Railway Trail near Ord Road in Warwick.

March 30: a man was shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries after an incident in the area of Queen Street and Park Gates in St. George.

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