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Police launch murder inquiry after 18-year-old shot

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A police officer stands where the road has been sealed off at Clearwater after the body of an 18-year-old man was found this morning. (Photograph by Blair Simmons)

Police launched a murder investigation yesterday after an 18-year-old man was shot near a popular beach.

A member of the public out exercising found the body at 6.30am near the roundabout on the roadway leading to Clearwater Beach, St David’s.

It is understood that the shooting happened at about 11pm last night and it is thought that the victim may have been chased before he was shot.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels said: “We’ve put a lot of effort and energy into trying to catch and convict the persons committing these very serious crimes.”

The shooting was the fifth confirmed firearms incident of the year and Mr Daniels said that gun violence was “a reoccurring theme” in Bermuda, with 17 confirmed shootings last year and three deaths.

He added: “We’ve come to a time now where we have to move away from turning on each other and we have to actually turn to each other and provide support in these very challenging and difficult times.”

Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith, of the serious crime unit, appealed for anyone who heard gunshots or who saw two motorbikes in the area at about 11pm last night to contact police.

He said it was too early to say if the killing was gang-related, but emphasised that it was important to speak to witnesses.

Police have sealed off the area near Clearwater Beach in St David’s, where a man’s body was found. (Photograph from Bermuda Police Service)

Mr Smith said: “There may be members of our community who have that information and that’s critical — very, very critical — to how we focus our investigation.

“All information is important, all information is welcome and we will treat that information with strict confidence.”

Mr Smith added: “There was forensic evidence recovered at the scene to confirm the male was shot near where his body was found.

“We are appealing for anyone who may have heard any suspicious noises or seen anyone acting in a suspicious manner in the area of Tommy Fox Road or near the Gulfstream residences at Southside between 11pm on Tuesday, April 5, and the early hours of today to please get in contact with us.

“Yet another young man has been taken away from us and again by means of a senseless act of violence.

“I urge the public to come forward and tell us what you know, to not only help bring whomever is responsible to justice, but also to bring closure to the family of this young man, who are left to mourn his passing.”

Michael Weeks, the new Minister of National Security, offered his condolences to the family and appealed for anyone with information that could help to come forward.

He said: “This is all our issue and whatever people want to do for healing like prayer or meditation can do that, but we have to try to heal our country and it’s not going to be a one-stream approach.

“We as a community have to come together no matter where we are.”

Mr Weeks, appointed to his ministerial role on Monday, said that he would talk to the Gang Violence Reduction Team on the next steps.

He added that tackling the problem of violence among young people would need collaboration between ministries to work through the fields of education and social work.

Mr Weeks said: “I need to sit down with all the stakeholders as soon as possible so we can plot a course forward together.

“But in the meantime, it is important that members of the community come forward and say what they know. This can and will be addressed, and we’ll do it together.”

He added: “This has been a sad and traumatising day for our island. We’ve lost yet another young man to the senseless act of gun violence. I send my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of the victim.

“I have young sons of my own, so I can absolutely empathise with this family’s loss of their loved one. This has been a very concerning and active few days of violence and antisocial behaviour.

“As Minister of National Security, I am committed to doing all that I can to help curb the violence in our community, and I will be meeting with the Gang Violence Reduction Team to have a fulsome discussion about the current initiatives and plans.

“The murder is in the early investigative stages, and I’m urging anyone who may have any information about this incident to please share what you know.

“Please help this young man’s family find some sense of peace and justice. They can call the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.”

Michael Dunkley, the One Bermuda Alliance shadow national security minister, added: “I’m past the point of expressing shock every time I hear of a violent incident involving youth on our island.

“I am angry. I am sad. I think it’s deplorable that another family is forced to endure unnecessary pain.”

Mr Dunkley said: “We cannot bury our heads in the sand. Family and friends of those committing heinous acts such as this must speak up and hold them accountable. We must commit to social responsibility — our community is depending on it.”

Lovitta Foggo, the Progressive Labour Party MP for St David’s, said that the rise in violence was a cause for alarm in the constituency.

She called on area residents to break the culture of violence by showing a good example to the young.

Ms Foggo added: “The best way to do that is to stand as one as a community.”

She also urged people to come forward to assist police. “We fully support the police in their efforts to bring the criminals to justice,” she said.

“As a community — which is a very peaceful community — we will do what we need to do to ensure that our community remains quiet, calm and, as much as we can, crime-free.”