An Agricola youth was yesterday shot dead moments after he snatched a bag of money from a licensed firearm holder who was at the time making a purchase at Ramchand Auto Spares on Sheriff Street.
The relatives of Kevin Fields, 21, of Titus Street identified his remains at the Lyken’s Funeral Home around 4 pm. Stabroek News later visited the East Bank Demerara community but when his relatives were approached, they opted not to comment.
The money and a .32 Taurus revolver with five matching rounds that Fields was reportedly armed with were found near his body. His accomplice who was on a CG motorcycle managed to elude capture. Crime Chief Leslie James said last evening that ranks were still looking for that person.
Police later said in a press release that at around 12:00 hrs a businessman went to Ramchand Auto Spares to transact business, “when a man armed with a firearm entered and took away a bag containing $1.7M.”
The release said that the armed man then ran outside and towards a motorcycle that was being ridden by an accomplice, pursued by the businessman. The armed man discharged a round and the businessman, who is a licensed firearm holder, returned fire hitting the armed man to his neck.
His accomplice managed to escape, the release said, adding that in addition to the money bag and the weapon, police also recovered a spent shell from the scene.
Many curious persons who gathered to get a glimpse of the bloody corpse which was sprawled at the side of Sheriff Street, a few metres from the Duncan Street intersection, applauded the businessman for his bravery.
Stabroek News was told that a short while earlier, the man had transacted business at a city bank. Thereafter he proceeded to the Sheriff Street establishment in a taxi. It is suspected that the man was trailed from the bank. Police have often urged businesspersons to desist from moving around with large amounts of cash and to use bank cards instead.
Eyewitnesses recalled seeing the bandit running out of the store with the businessman in hot pursuit. In the vicinity of Duncan Street, he jumped onto a waiting CG motorcycle but it appears as though when it pulled off he fell off. One eyewitness told the media that it was this point that the bandit discharged a round at the businessman who then pulled a gun from his waist and discharged a single bullet which struck the bandit.
A man who was working in the area at the time recalled hearing a gunshot followed by a few seconds of silence then another gunshot. He said that when he investigated he saw a man lying on the roadway with a silver coloured gun nearby. He said that he then saw a man who he later learnt had been robbed by the shot man jump into a silver grey motorcar which took off at top speed. The car was headed south on Sheriff Street.
The man said that he later learnt that the man who had boarded the car was in pursuit of the dead man’s accomplice but he did not find him. He said that police arrived on the scene about ten minutes after the shooting had occurred.
Owner of the auto spares store, Ramchand Ragbeer told reporters at the scene that the businessman, who is a regular customer, went to make a purchase. He recalled that he was sitting in his office while the man was being tended to when he heard someone shouting “thief”. Based on what this newspaper gathered it was the customer who was shouting.
Ragbeer said that shortly after that the customer started running behind a man who by then had snatched the grey coloured bag he had. He said that they both ran out of the store and he later leant that the bandit jumped onto a waiting motorcycle.
Ragbeer said that he has surveillance cameras at his business. The footage could be of importance to investigators. He said that previously a customer was robbed at the store but on that occasion no firearm was involved.
Asked for his reaction to the incident, the businessman said that it highlights the need for a police presence in the area especially at the Duncan Street/Sheriff Street intersection and a camera on the traffic light. “That [the camera] would have helped. I think this would have given a better image if they had a camera.”
He said that he is happy that the licensed firearm holder was able to defend himself.
Persons who knew Fields personally told this newspaper that he was a known troublemaker. They said that although his relatives urged him to change his ways, he still continued.
On his Facebook page there were numerous photographs with him posing with large sums of money. In one of the photographs he appeared to be lying on a bed. Near him were several piles of money, a bank card, a paper with the words firearm licence printed at the top, a can of Red Bull and a Heineken bottle. Another showed him wearing a large gold chain
He last updated his page on July 8.