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Latest murder victim named as Che Jennings as police pledge wall of blue

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Murder victim: Che Jennings, who died after he was shot outside Warwick Workmen’s Club on Thursday night (Photograph, Bermuda Police Service)

Police will swamp the island with officers over the Easter period after two gun murders in the space of a few days, it was revealed last night.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels said the service would be at “surge capacity” this weekend and all police training had been cancelled to maximise the number of officers on the streets.

He added: “This will create a noticeable increase in patrols, visibility and engagement, particularly in those areas that have been affected by antisocial behaviour, firearms incidents and other violence.”

Mr Daniels warned that police would also use their stop-and-search powers.

Police released a picture of two suspects after a man died after he was shot in Warwick (Image supplied)

The news came as senior officers identified the latest gun death as Che Jennings, who died after he was shot several times outside Warwick Workmen’s Club on Thursday night.

Mr Jennings, 24, from Warwick, was shot several times just after 8.30pm.

Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons said that an individual had been arrested in connection with the killing and that police were interested in two suspects on a white Honda motorcycle seen in the area around the time of the incident.

The rider was wearing a red jacket and the passenger had a yellow jacket. Both wore black helmets.

The news came in the wake of two gun killings over two days.

Laje Franklin, 18, was shot dead on Tuesday night near Clearwater Beach in St David’s.

But officers said they did not think the two incidents were linked and that they were keeping an open mind on whether the latest killing was gang-related.

Mr Simons said: “Two families are now mourning over the senseless and violent loss of life. These are cold, callous, premeditated killings that are done without regard for life or impact on the community.

Mr Simons added that the three main criminal gangs had splintered into factions and spread out of traditional gangland territories since 2014, which made police “disrupt and deter” efforts more difficult.

Mr Simons said: “From an intelligence perspective, certainly pre-2014 there was a very clear delineation of gang affiliations.

“You would commonly have heard the names 42, Parkside and MOB as the main contributors to the tension and violence that existed then.

“The police, like the community, had a very good understanding of who was beefing with who and where, and certainly with whom, incidents would most likely occur.”

But Mr Simons said the gang situation had become “much more fluid” and that there “seemed to be a greater number of factions that are willing to resort to gun crime to solve their disputes”.

He added: “The challenge in policing these tensions is both the number of factions has increased, who is against who has changed over time and the locations where they take place also changes.

“The picture is just not as clear as it was before so deploying officers intelligently to disrupt and deter has become more difficult.”

But Mr Simons insisted: “I assure the public that the Bermuda Police Service is taking the action necessary to ensure that those who perpetrated these crimes are brought to justice and the families and community get the closure that they need.”

He admitted it was hard to estimate how many splinter groups now existed.

Mr Simons said: “It is an ever evolving situation, which is one of the challenges.”

He added: “Depending on the issue or depending on who is at odds with each other, these alliances tend to shift back and forth.”

But he said it was estimated that about 200 people were involved with gangs and much of the violence was motivated by “respect, revenge and revenue”.

Mr Simons appeared to suggest that the police service could use extra cash to help tackle serious crime.

He said: “Nobody would say no to more resources. One of the challenges is, in order to produce this surge capacity, we have to stop things like training, which is very vital, to maintain that surge capacity.

“Those are conversations I have with the Government on an ongoing basis.”

Police yesterday released a video of the suspects in the Warwick murder and appealed to anyone with information on this week’s killings to contact police.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Stableford appealed to anyone with CCTV or other footage that could help the inquiries into either incident to save it and submit it to police.

He said anyone who may have seen the two suspects in the Warwick shooting or who was in the area from 7pm to 10pm and may have seen something suspicious should contact police.

Mr Simons told the public: “Some with information may have concerns.

“I want to reassure those persons who may be sitting on the fence out of fear that we have robust measures in place to ensure your safety.”

He added that people could also use the independent, anonymous and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800 8477.

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Published April 09, 2022 at 8:03 am (Updated April 09, 2022 at 8:21 am)

Latest murder victim named as Che Jennings as police pledge wall of blue

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