A 38-year-old father of two was gunned down early yesterday morning as he was about to leave the Cool Breeze Guest House in West Ruimveldt and while relatives say it was a robbery, police investigators are working on the theory that he was the victim of a `hit’.
Imtiaz Roopnarine called `Bobby’ of Alexander Village died almost instantly from a gunshot that struck him in his mouth as he tried to evade one of the gunmen.
The attackers were so desperate to take their target down that one of them scaled a fence to corner Roopnarine. His body is at the Lyken’s Funeral home awaiting a post-mortem examination.
Police said in a press release yesterday that around 0530 hours, the businessman was attacked and shot to his head by a man armed with a gun in the compound of a West Ruimveldt Hotel. The release added that the victim’s jewellery is “suspected to have been taken away” by the perpetrator.
According to the release no arrest has yet been made and investigations are continuing.
When contacted, Police Commissioner (ag) Leroy Brumell confirmed the shooting.
He said that based on the information gathered so far, Roopnarine checked into the guest house around 4 am and was confronted as he was about to leave the premises an hour and a half later. Brumell explained that the man was wearing a gold chain and that is what might have made him a target. He said that the man’s licensed firearm was recovered from the scene. This newspaper was told that the man apparently did not have a chance to use it before he was shot. Brumell told Stabroek News that the bullet struck the man in the mouth.
He said that investigators have gathered that two suspicious men were seen lurking in the vicinity of the guest house and it is suspected that these were the perpetrators. He said that Roopnarine ran back into the guest house compound after the shooting started but was pursued by a gunman who jumped the fence. He said that the dead man was a security provider for a city business.
A police source later told this newspaper that despite the report of missing jewellery, the evidence is pointing in the direction of a hit. The source said that the gunman went to great lengths to ensure that Roopnarine was dead, waited for some time and scaled a fence.
The source said that police believe that the man was trailed to the guest house after which the perpetrators patiently waited for him to exit.
This newspaper was told that the gunman and a waiting accomplice escaped on a motorcycle.
Residents at the scene had very little information as to what transpired. One woman said that a loud sound was heard sometime before 6 am and on looking out nothing was seen. The residents this newspaper spoke to did not recall seeing anything suspicious in the time leading up to the shooting.
At the man’s home, many relatives and friends congregated, as news of the shooting spread, to offer support to Roopnarine’s wife and his two young children.
Shayo Narine who described himself as a very close friend said that the information he got was that Roopnarine was robbed and shot. He said that the man’s gold chain and band are missing. He said that based on what he was told his friend was “having a drink” when he was shot and was a regular visitor to that area.
According to Narine, he believes that the gunmen spotted the jewellery and decided to rob Roopnarine since as far as he knows his friend has no enemies.
He said that Roopnarine was self employed but did not go into details.
Narine said that he last saw him on Wednesday and he appeared in good spirits.