No one has been charged with the Christmas morning shooting of Quason Paul, who has maintained he was hit by a bullet fired by the police while he was assisting the victim of a robbery.
The police force, however, is adamant that the bullet came from the weapon of one of the robbers who were firing at police and Crime Chief Seelall Persaud on Tuesday stuck by that position.
He said that one of the suspected robbers has since been charged in relation to the robbery. The alleged robber had also been hit during the exchange of gunfire and was admitted a patient of the Georgetown Hospital.
A police source told this newspaper that the matter may now be closed as the force has already laid the blame on the bandits. The source pointed out that the best way to answer all questions is to conduct ballistic tests on the bullet that was removed from Paul’s foot during surgery. It is unclear if this was done already or if there are intentions to have such tests conducted.
A source close to the investigation told Stabroek News recently that Paul’s relatives are living in fear, given the “rumours” they are hearing. The source said that the police’s actions in how they are investigating the matter are in itself suspicious.
It was explained to this newspaper that while Paul was in hospital, a police detective in plain clothes and uniformed ranks visited him. The source said that at one point, Paul was asked if he knew who shot him and if he was shown the bullet that was removed from his leg. According to the source, the ranks were to return to complete the interview but they never did though they had enough contact information for Paul.
Stabroek News has since learnt that one of the persons who like Paul also went to assistance of the robbery victims is now remaining indoors out of fear that the police will put the blame on him.
The source insisted that when Paul was shot none of the bandits were around, only policemen.
Given the way the police have been operating, the source said, Paul’s relatives believe that the case is closed.
The source told Stabroek News that Paul is being unfairly treated as he had been rendered immobile as a result of the gunshot injury. Because of the damage to the bone, a piece of steel has been inserted in his leg and Paul has had to maintain a lying position.
According to the source, Paul’s relatives just want the police to say who fired the shot so that they can have some peace of mind.
They have made several approaches to the force for a resolution, but their efforts have been disappointing. A senior officer who was approached told Paul’s family that the circumstances of the shooting appeared strange and promised that it would be investigated. He promised that Paul’s family would be contacted but this was never done.
Paul had related to this newspaper that during the wee hours of Christmas morning, he and seven other persons were on Camp Street when one of their number proceeded to the Demerara Bank ATM to withdraw money. It was at this point that the robbery occurred and subsequently he and his other friends began chasing the three bandits. Paul said that police ranks, who were on patrol in the area, pulled up and enquired as to why they were running. They were informed of the robbery and joined the chase. Paul said that they managed to corner the bandits in a dark spot and police began shooting. It was at this point he was shot, he said.
The police had a different version of the shooting. In a statement, police said that at about 1:30 am on Christmas Day, Khazram Lashley, 19 of Campbellville, Georgetown, Pravin Yadev, 32 of Croal Street, Georgetown, and Mohit Vaswani, 21, of Croal Street, were walking along Camp Street, Georgetown, when they were held up by three men. One of the men was armed with a handgun, while the others had knives. The armed men, police said, took away a total of $33,000 and a cell phone from the victims and were pursued by Lashley and Paul, who were a short distance away. Police said that during the chase the armed man discharged shots, hitting Paul to his right thigh. The police statement also said that ranks of a police mobile patrol were alerted by the gunshots and responded and continued the chase after the perpetrators. The armed man discharged rounds at the police who returned fire, hitting one of them to his right leg. The other two men managed to escape, police said.