Three bandits were killed in a shootout last night with police in Norton Street, Lodge that saw the area transformed into a battle zone with bullets flying.
The bandits had held a 40-year-old man and his son at gunpoint in his Norton Street home while they demanded valuables after learning that someone had arrived in the country.
According to information reaching Stabroek News, two of the dead bandits have so far been identified as 25-year-old Shawn Browne Jr. and Junior Nurse, while the other man remains unidentified.
According to Neville Leslie, a construction worker, around 8:30 pm he was in the kitchen with his son and was proceeding to lock his front door when one of the bandits jumped over his fence and pointed a gun in his face before demanding gold and money.
“I said what gold and what money and they asked what about the girl that come in the country, where she deh. I said man me ain’t understand what you asking and me ain’t got nothing inside,” Leslie recalled.
Subsequently, two other men appeared, also armed with guns, and forced him into the house before locking the door.
The three men took the man and his five-year-old son to the top flat of the house and started searching and ransacking the entire house.
“They put me in one of the bedroom and put me to lie down with my son and tell me they gon shoot my son and shoot me if me ain’t find the gold and money and give them,” the visibly-traumatised Leslie recalled, while adding that his son kept asking him if they were going to shoot them.
The men checked Leslie and continued inquiring about gold and money before one of the bandits turned to his accomplice and said “we gon gotto do this man like we does do everybody else.”
After he kept telling the bandits that he did not have any gold or money, the men assaulted him and kept “slapping me up in my face” before they took him into the “back room” while he kept praying for the police to appear.
While they were in the room with the man, a passing GPF patrol was alerted by neighbours about strange men entering Leslie’s home. The police subsequently took up tactical positions in front of the house by which time the bandits were alerted about the police’s presence.
Right after the police arrived, the three bandits stormed out of the room and went down the stairs in an apparent bid to escape. This prompted Leslie to block the door with barrels and other objects.
“One of them force back and come in and end up going back out and I lock up the whole bedroom, tek out some louvres from the window and let my son down and a police collected him and then I jump through the window,” Leslie recalled, while stating that he broke one of his toes in the process.
Prior to jumping out of the window, he said that he heard an exchange of fire between the bandits and police, and one of them complaining about being in pain from being shot.
When Stabroek News arrived at the scene after 9 pm last night, two other squads of officers had arrived on the scene to provide back up for the first, as well as a bus load of police.
Minutes after, an exchange of rapid gunfire could be heard as curious residents looked on from the sides of the road.
The bandits remained in the house and up to 9:30 pm there was a continuous exchange of gunfire which prompted nearby residents and police officers to take cover.
It wasn’t until around 9:47 when the SWAT team arrived that the exchange of gunfire subsided and the police brought out three bodies from the yard and placed them in the back of one of their vans and took them to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Right after the police brought the bodies of the three bandits out of the house the crowd of residents erupted in applause and thanked the police for a “job well done.”
During the gunfire some of them kept chanting “kill them, kill them, we fed up, we fed up.”
At the hospital, Browne’s and Nurse’s families were greeted with the news of their deaths and broke down in tears. Browne’s mother, who did not want to be named, said she saw her son around 8:30 pm before a friend came for him. She said that the man told her that he was going “around the corner” and would be back soon.
During the exchange of gunfire, a female police officer, Clarke, was shot in her right knee and is currently at the hospital in a stable condition.