September 28, 2020

This is clearly gang related – Police

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Police at the scene of Thursday night’s murder

Police are looking at gangland retaliation in Thursday night’s West Bay murder of 24-year-old Andrew Baptist, in Sand Hole Road by two masked gunmen but have named no suspects nor made arrests.

The 9pm killing at 22 Sand Hole Road of father-of-two Mr Baptist, apparently chased by assailants from Super C’s Restaurant on Watercourse Road, may have been retaliation for the Tuesday murder of Robert Bush near West Bay’s Birch Tree Hill Road in the Logwood neighbourhood.

“There is clear evidence this is gang-related,” said RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones. “We are seeing evidence that Robert Bush’s murder was gang related, and there is evidence of a resumption of a feud between the Logwood and the Birch Tree Hill areas.

“Our worst fears have been realised with this second murder,” he said. “The people we were appealing to the other day are beyond appeal, and this leaves at least two families grief-stricken at this mindless violence.”

Detailing Thursday night’s events, Mr Jones said “at five minutes to 9PM, we received a report that a young man had been shot in the Sand Hole area.

“Mr Baptist was with a number of friends, sat in a yard. They were surprised by two masked gunmen who came from behind the house. The victim and the people with him ran as soon as they saw them,” he said.

“It would appear the victim had been targeted, because he was fatally shot, several times. By the time emergency services arrived, he was dead.”

While saying that “a number of casings were found at the scene”, neither Mr Jones nor Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden would say how many bullets had been fired or what kind of guns had been used, saying only Mr Baptist had been shot “in the head”.

Mr Bodden said that, since Tuesday’s Birch Tree Hill murder, “we have had a lot of evidence called in to us, explaining a lot of history that led up to Robert Bush’s death.

“It is unfortunate that it took another life to get people to come forward,” he said. “I am certain that if they had brought this information forward before, Robert Bush would still be alive today – and we would not have had two murders in 24 hours.”

In contrast to their initial assessment of the Bush murder, both officers acknowledged that he had been assaulted by “a minimum” of two gunmen, firing a shotgun and a 9mm pistol.

Chief Superintendent John Jones (left) and Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden

“If you know something and you do not tell us, “ Mr Bodden said, appealing for information from the public, “then you have no one to blame but yourself.”

Asked what had triggered the conflict, Mr Jones said that a “relatively minor” July incident at West Bay’s Club Inferno appeared to have been responsible, but said no one had been hurt, although Mr Bush had been charged with assault and a firearm had been present.

“What we are getting is a mixture,” said Mr Bodden. “You may have an element of drugs involved, but sometimes some will feel disrespected by others, although nothing really pronounced. A lot of it is, I would say, quite silly, quite juvenile. Girlfriends sometimes play a part.

“It is, in fact, important that mothers, grandmothers, and girlfriends appeal to these men, that enough is enough.”

Alerted to threats of weekend violence, both officers said the police “have contingencies in place, increased coverage and we will continue to do so.”

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