Republic Bank morning raid goes wrong…Bandit killed, rogue bank employee shot
– Dead man had a university degree
Shock, anger and disbelief were some of the emotions expressed yesterday when three educated young men with good professions were identified as the suspects in yesterday’s attempted robbery at Republic Bank Limited (RBL) on Water Street, Georgetown.
Elton Wray, a 25-year-old agronomist attached to the National Agriculture Research Extension Institute (NAREI) was shot dead while his accomplice, Jamal Haynes, who worked at the said bank for seven years sustained gunshot wounds to both legs.
Wray’s cousin, 22-year-old Keron Sanders, who was the last suspect to exit the bank was apprehended and is assisting with investigation.
Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, confirmed that a second bank employee, who has been fingered in the robbery plot, has been taken into custody. Blanhum pointed out that at this point it is only an allegation and investigation is ongoing to determine whether the second person was a suspect.
Kaieteur News was informed that the three pistols the men tried to rob the bank with were recovered by the cops.
Managing Director the Professional Guard Services (PGS), Sean Kirkpatrick, said that three armed men entered Republic Bank before it was open to the public.
The perpetrators wore masks, gloves and carried handguns with which they opened fire on the RBL personnel.
PGS security guards who were on site immediately raised an alarm and armed response teams proceeded to the location.
According to Kirkpatrick, when the team arrived, the gunmen opened fire on them; the guards returned fire.
With the help of the police, the robbery was thwarted.
According to information, the robbers had planned the attack on the bank for some time; this was confirmed by one of the captured bandits.
They were dropped off on Robb Street, in the vicinity of the vendor’s mall (opposite the bank) in HC 7778 and walked to the bank with their faces covered and pistols in their hands.
This newspaper was told that the men planned that after robbing the bank, they wound have ran south of the bank and rejoin the vehicle and head to another location where they wound have split the loot among themselves.
However, their plans failed when members from the Professional Guard Services responded to one of their colleague’s call and cornered them until the police arrived.
How it all started…
Around 07:20 hrs yesterday, the three men walked to the bank and fired several shots to scare persons away. They went into the ATM and shot open the door to get into the bank.
Investigators believed that Haynes was the individual who plotted the act since he was familiar with the time the vault opens.
“Before they could have got to the vault, they heard gunshots outside and they panicked. They began running around inside the bank,” a staffer told this newspaper yesterday.
A vehicle with armed guards was in the vicinity and responded to the scene when one of their colleagues called to inform that the bank was under attack.
“They thought was police. They didn’t expect anyone to respond so soon with the traffic around that time,” the staffer said.
Wray ran out of the bank, while firing shots and ended up at the Plaisance Bus Park where he was apprehended. He was shot to the chest and died while receiving treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
Bank staffer Haynes, on the other hand, held a gun to one of the bank employee’s neck and took him to the vendor’s mall where he allowed the young man to leave. He then ran into a canteen.
“De bai run in the kitchen, put on an apron and a hat and start cooking but people see when he run in and run behind he so he couldn’t hide,” a vendor said. The woman explained that Haynes usually purchased food from the same canteen.
The police held Sanders, a Mocha, East Bank Demerara (EBD) resident, when he tried to exit the bank.
Haynes’s relatives were the only people to turn up at the hospital. They insisted that the young man was not a bandit but was in fact wrongfully arrested.
His grandmother, who did not give her name, said that he left to go to work as usual and said something went wrong. The woman said that the 24-year-old man worked at the bank for seven years and never got into those activities. His sister also worked at the bank.
Wray, whose father is a senior official at Immigrations, went to China on a government scholarship and earned a monthly salary of $186,299.
Only last year, he received a duty free concession and brought in a Nissan Juke, PWW 1452. He parked his vehicle around 04:00 hrs yesterday at the Parking Lot at South Ruimveldt Shopping Plazza. It is suspected that he might have been picked up by the same vehicle that transported them to the scene.
Wray’s badge with the position, Research Assistant was hanging inside of the vehicle.
His cousin, Sanders, was said to be employed as a machine operator with one of the photo studios in Georgetown.
Haynes on the other hand worked in the support department at the bank. He assisted various departments.
Need for money…
Kaieteur News was informed that Wray wanted to travel overseas recently to see his girlfriend but could not afford it. He had asked a number of persons for a part time job where he could have made some extra money.
Those who were trapped inside the bank said that the men spoke in another language. Some even assumed that the bandits might have been foreigners but this newspaper later confirmed that Wray studied Chinese and might have taught his accomplices a thing or two.
Shock, disbelief and anger…
Haynes’s colleagues were in shock when they found out that he was the one who went into the bank. They described him as a quiet and soft spoken young man who was always willing to assist.
“You would ask him to go and buy a food for you and he would do it without saying anything. That’s how cool he was and he was not a rude person,” a staffer said.
Even the vendors could not believe what they were seeing when the police grabbed the 24-year-old from the market.
“That bai, quiet and mannerly. He does always be in the market and he always come to buy something and support us so I don’t know what happened,” a vendor said.
Meanwhile, the bank’s Managing Director, Richard Sammy, said that “our greatest concern at this point rests upon the safety and well-being of our staff and customers. We have initiated trauma assistance processes for staff and shall continue to work with law enforcement officials in their investigations.”