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Four found dead in Pembroke apartment

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Police at Pembroke where the bodies of two adults and two children were found (Photograph Blaire Simmons)

Four people were found dead in an apartment in South Terrace, Pembroke, police said yesterday.

Police and emergency services attended the scene where two adults and two children were discovered unresponsive shortly after noon.

Officers acknowledged that speculation was rife across the island as news spread quickly online.

However, they called for calm, emphasising that updates would come as their investigation developed.

Images on social media taken from the neighbourhood, a dense residential area near the National Sports Centre in Devonshire, showed people distressed amid a heavy police presence.

Na’imah Astwood, the Acting Commissioner of Police, said: “Upon arrival, officers found four persons, two adults and two minors, unresponsive inside the premises.

“An on-call doctor attended and their deaths were pronounced at the scene shortly thereafter.”

Na’imah Astwood, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, speaks to the media yesterday about the discovery of the bodies of two adults and two children (Photograph Blaire Simmons)

Police did not describe the event as a homicide.

Officers underscored the sensitivity of the incident and declined to provide any ages of the deceased.

Ms Astwood added that while there had been “widespread speculation” about the incident, the investigation was still in its early days.

However, she said there was no indication that there was any direct connection between the deaths and the fatal shooting of Diante Trimm in the same complex last month.

“At this time, the BPS is treating the murder of Diante Trimm as separate and distinct from the tragedy that occurred,“ she said.

“We are actively working to gather more information and a thorough investigation is under way to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these four individuals.

“We urge the public to remain calm and co-operative as we carry out our investigation.

“As a mother of two young daughters, my heart is absolutely shattered. To the family of the deceased, our thoughts are with you during this very difficult time and we stand ready to provide any assistance.

“Further updates on this matter will be provided as additional information becomes available. In the meantime, we ask for the public’s understanding and support as we work to uncover the truth behind this tragic incident.”

She added that while the tragedy was the second to rock the South Terrace area recently, the safety and wellbeing of residents stood as a priority for the police and they were committed to ensure the security of the community.

Asked if the incident was being investigated as a homicide, Superintendent Sherwin Joseph said that it was still too early in the investigation to go into detail, but that officers with the Serious Crime Unit were involved.

“We are keeping an open mind into the investigation at this time,” he added.

Mr Joseph also said it was too early in the process to provide a timeline as to when the four died.

“We wouldn’t be able to basically state exactly any sort of timeline, but we are progressing that,” he said. “We are interviewing witnesses at this time, so that should help us understand exactly what transpired.”

A heavy police presence remained near the scene hours after the grim discovery.

A local resident told The Royal Gazette last night that the community had been stunned by the tragedy, which far surpassed anything seen on the island in recent memory.

“Lots of people are outside still, milling around. Most are in a state of shock,” he said.

“The whole thing is just very sad. It’s a sad, gruesome, tragic event.

“It is the most police I have ever seen in one place in a long time, plain-clothed and in uniform.”

He said that a crowd of onlookers, many distraught, began to gather early in the afternoon.

People remained out in the road and in front yards for hours as officers carried out their investigation.

Another resident said that he had heard a number of rumours about what had happened, which he hoped were untrue.

“I can’t think of another time something like this has happened on the island,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking.

“The community was already hurting after what happened last month and this is just another blow, another tragedy, in the same place.”

David Burt, the Premier, said the incident was an “unimaginable tragedy”.

“The grief and pain for this family is heart-wrenching and as a community we must support them with love and all necessary assistance,” Mr Burt said.

“With an active investigation under way, our focus must also be on helping the police in their investigation.

“This is an incredibly sad day, and my hope is that our island community will rally to support this family at what is an extremely difficult time.”

Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, added: “This Friswells Hill community is a tight-knit one and I know first-hand that everyone is affected by the events of today.

“The ministry is co-ordinating counselling and other support services and I encourage anyone who needs this help to contact Bishop Leroy Bean at 799-7972.

“Additionally, I reiterate and support the call from the police for any assistance to be provided that might inform the ongoing investigation.”

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Detective Chief Inspector Derricka Burns of the Serious Crime Unit at 717-0921 or by e-mail at dburns@bps.bm.

Information can also be provided through the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.