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Heavily armed gang invades Crabwood Creek home
Woman shot dead, four men injured -attempt made to set house on fire

Dead: Fay Campbell

A passer-by was shot dead and four men injured after 12 heavily armed bandits invaded the home of a businessman at Grant 1805 Crabwood Creek (CWC) around 1:45 am yesterday setting fires in the house, shooting wildly and sending shivers throughout Berbice.

Salt bag bandits  Stealing-chicken-guard  Armed bandits rob money-changers

The dead woman was identified as Fay Campbell, 28 years, of Cumberland, East Canje. She sustained gunshot wounds to her back. Abdul Fazal Ghanie, 50, a guard at the home of the businessman, Shamnarine Narine, 35, was shot in the jaw and Narine in the leg. The other injured men are Mukesh Bridgemohan, 34, of Black Bee, Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara and his cousin Premnauth Sukra, 34 of Kaneville, EBD. The three men were admitted to the New Amsterdam Hospital while Narine was treated at the Skeldon Hospital and sent away. The scale and brutality of the assault was reminiscent of those conducted at the height of the runaway crime spree of 2002-4. In yesterday's assault, the police were unable to engage the gunmen.

At the time of the shooting, Bridgemohan was driving a truck, GJJ 3080 along a desolate road in CWC and was almost two miles away from the robbery scene.

He was shot thrice in his left shoulder, once in his right shoulder and two of his fingers were also hit. Sukra suffered injuries to both legs. The woman was seated beside Bridgemohan while Sukra was at the end.

The men are employed with the owner of the truck from Mahaica and had been hired to transport equipment for the Tom and Jerry Fun Park to Suriname.

The front of the house was riddled with bullet holes

Bridgemohan told Stabroek News (SN) they had gone to Skeldon to purchase food from a restaurant and were returning to the Molsen Creek Ferry Stelling when the incident occured.

"All we see is about 12 gunmen deh on both sides of the road and they start shooting up the truck. But me continue driving to the stelling."

He said the woman's head fell back and she was left in that position and appeared to be dead. The men said they did not know the woman but they met her at the restaurant when they went to buy food and she asked them for a "drop" to the stelling.

Narine was shot in his left leg and he was treated at the Skeldon Hospital and sent away while the other three are patients at the New Amster-dam Hospital.

Ghanie, the watchman told SN he heard "a van stop and gun start fire and me fire back about three loads." He said about 10 to 12 gunmen surrounded the yard and then a few went upstairs while the others remained downstairs and continued firing.

He said he was hiding behind a vehicle in the yard when the bullet hit him in his jaw -where it is still lodged - and he fell to the ground.

The gunmen seemed determined to find Narine who remained in hiding in a room in the house with his wife, Sharmilla and two children, ages 13 and eight-years. The gunmen spent close to two hours firing rapidly and ransacking the entire house.

After their efforts were unsuccessful they decided to destroy everything in the house and shot at the television set, water tanks and at a Lexus and four other vehicles belonging to Narine.

They also set the house alight before escaping in a waiting speedboat close to a sawmill behind the house. They tied up a fisherman, Ramnauth, who was close to the sawmill before leaving.

The men gained entry to the house by ripping open the grill on a window. They attempted to shoot down the steel door but it would not budge. They had cut a barbed wire on the concrete fence and jumped into the yard.

`Shoot dem'

Narine told Stabroek News he heard the men saying "leh we find dem and shoot dem. We ain't going till we nah find them. Shoot the ceiling and see if dem in there."

They then lit a fire in two sections of the house after spraying the area with Baygon. They reportedly tried to use the cooking gas to start the fire but that effort failed.

After the gunmen left, Narine's father, Hareshnarine `Chinee' Sugrim, proprietor of Sugrim Industries, who lives obliquely opposite, and neighbours ran over and put the fire out.

Sugrim collapsed after he did not see his son and family. They finally emerged from their hiding place about 15 minutes after the gunmen fled.

Still shaken by the incident, Sugrim told this newspaper, "Guyana is no place to stay because there is no protection. I would definitely close my business down and migrate."

Further, he is offering a reward of $5M to anyone who can provide him with information about the shooting.

The man said he was about to open the door when a gunman fired a shot in his direction and told him, "Ow Chinee come out your (expletive) and save your son now."

Narine's aunt, Pamela said she heard the loud shots and thought her neighbours who were "sporting" were lighting firecrackers. But after it continued she checked it out and noticed two men in front of her nephew's house and three under the house firing rapidly.

A resident said he saw one of the bandits pumping bullets non-stop at the house while talking on a radio set.

Hemnauth whose house is situated behind Narine's said some of the bullets entered his building. He said his wife Kamal heard the rapid gunfire and she called out to him.

He proceeded to wake his daughter and they hid in a corner of the house. "We couldn't hear anything else only bullets. But we look out to see where it was coming from, we just keep quiet."

A police statement yesterday said that four of the bandits entered the house by cutting through the grill work on the window. They ransacked the home and took away jewellery and $300,000. "During this, they discharged rounds indiscriminately around the house, resulting in Shamnarine Narine being hit above his right knee by a bullet that went through the wall. The bandits also lit small fires in the hall and kitchen of the house using the curtains".

The statement also added that as the bandits were leaving they saw watchman Ghanie and fired rounds at him, one of which grazed his head.

The police said they recovered a .38 revolver along with 187 empty shells of various calibre, one 16-gauge cartridge, three sledgehammers and a claw bar.

Recent months have seen an upsurge in crime in all parts of the country with many attacks featuring guns.

Last night, Campbell's mother Judith Mc Donald told Stabroek News that her daughter left to go to the beach and then to Coney Island and Reno. Campbell also leaves to mourn her three children Leroy, Tiffany and Fiona and her sister Gwendlyn. (Additional reporting by Adrian Smith)