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Gun police swoop on suspect near school gates

Bermuda's battle against gun crime has spilled over into Hamilton's streets with police involved in an armed confrontation just yards from the gates of Bermuda High School for Girls.

Officers cornered a man on Woodbourne Avenue in Hamilton in broad-daylight on Thursday, as many people began their journeys home.

Witnesses described hearing officers, with weapons drawn, yelling at the suspect, who was wanted in connection with a number of gun crimes, to get out of a car with his hands up.

One witness described seeing officers take aim at the man after surrounding his car shortly before 5pm, and said the incident had been handled well by local law enforcement.

“[They had their] weapons drawn, yelling at the occupant to come out with his hands up,” said Hal Kempe, who took a picture as events unfolded. “I would have gone in closer but [my daughter] was on the bike with me, so left to avoid my parental responsibilities being questioned.”

A police spokesman yesterday confirmed an arrest had been made without incident, and said that “any actions taken by armed officers is based on their training, circumstances and information available at the time”.

The spokesman added: “During the apprehension of a potentially armed suspect, trained BPS firearms officers drew their weapons in the process of arresting a 23 year old Pembroke man on suspicion of committing a number of firearms related offences.”

“The arrest occurred without incident, with no injuries suffered, and the suspect remains in police custody for interview by Serious Crimes Unit detectives.”

This type of operation is rare in Bermuda and police said a thorough risk assessment was carried out prior to the arrest going ahead.

“We hope that this incident did not cause any undo alarm to members of the public,” said the spokesman. “A comprehensive risk assessment is always conducted minimizing risk to the public/ suspect before these types of firearms operations are conducted, and yes the proximity to a school, or other similar location, is a major contributing factor.”

The school did not respond to requests for comment.

This picture, taken by Hal Kempe, is believed to show armed Bermuda police officers, with guns drawn, facing a car that was stopped on Woodbourne Avenue in Hamilton.

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Published May 24, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm)

Gun police swoop on suspect near school gates

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