A mother of five was last evening shot dead by a gunman who walked into the Chinese Delicious Restaurant on D’Urban Street where she worked as a waitress. From all indications the motive behind the shooting was robbery.
Confirmed dead is 48-year-old Debra Blackman called ‘Debbie’ of Critchlow Circle, Tucville. It is said that she sustained a single bullet wound to the head.
The Chinese restaurant has been the target of bandits repeatedly over the years. This newspaper counted at least four cameras on the exterior of the building and was told that there were more inside. If they are working, it is expected that they would have captured some useful footage.
Reports are that around 7.15 pm, the gunman walked into the restaurant which is located between Haley and Hardina Streets. Considering that a box of food was found on the counter following the shooting it has been assumed that this represented the gunman’s order. Seconds after the shooting the man was seen walking out of the restaurant and he subsequently jumped onto a CG motor cycle which sped off. It is not immediately clear if the gunman escaped with any money or valuables. It is also unclear whether anyone else was in the restaurant at the time of the shooting.
When Stabroek News arrived at the scene about 15 minutes after the shooting, the shutters were down and police ranks were inside conducting their investigations. Dozens of persons gathered trying to get a glimpse of what was happening inside and as more and more people converged on the scene that became increasingly difficult. Subsequently several armed policemen from a patrol arrived and assisted with crowd control and the traffic situation.
Residents told reporters that it was a shock, especially considering how nice a person the woman was. One man openly voiced his disapproval that the woman was not taken to the hospital. “The Chinee man just lock up he door and lef she shaking up pon de ground…why he didn’t try to get her to the hospital?” he said. The man stated too that there were persons outside who would have willingly taken the woman to the hospital. He said that in spite of the fact that her injury was serious, taking her for medical attention would have been a sign that some effort was being made to save her life.
Stabroek News was unable to speak with the person’s in charge of the restaurant. Based on a photograph shown to this newspaper, the woman was shot as she stood behind the counter. At least one person recalled hearing screaming before the gunshot.
One woman related that she was in her business place nearby when she heard a loud sound and when she looked out she saw the man coming out. She said that she looked for Blackman behind the counter and did not see her but in spite of the shot, she said that did not want to think the worst.
Seconds later, she said she saw men running from a building nearby into the restaurant. She went on to describe how she saw them not moving and just leaning over the counter. “I said to myself this is not good,” the woman said sadly.
She said that she could only recall seeing one man coming out of the building and jumping onto a motor cycle which was facing west.
She related how she knew Debbie from Tucville where she had resided for many years. She said that when she opened her business yesterday morning, the woman was her first customer. She said while attending to Blackman she asked her what she did when robberies occurred at the restaurant, and Blackman’s response was, “Girl I does run.” She said that she remembered telling her that she should not run but just give the robbers what they wanted as the money they were after did not belong to her. “Girl I does panic and I does run,” she recalled Blackman telling her. She said that their conversation did not focus on what her employers were doing to deal with the situation but she advised her to just give up the money.
She called for a greater police presence in the area especially at night.
Shelly, Blackman’s eldest child told this newspaper that she repeatedly advised her mother to stop working at the restaurant. “Ah tell she lef de wuk. If she stay home, they does bug she and they does beg she to come to wuk,” she sobbed. Shelly said that her mother had been working at the restaurant for the past 15 years.
She said she last saw her when she left for work yesterday morning and she indicated that she would be home by six o’clock as she wanted to go to the show (Jamzone Regional night). She said it was someone who works near the restaurant who came and informed her that her mother had been killed.
Meanwhile the woman’s husband Mervin Blackman said that he was at his home on the East Coast when he got a call that she had been shot. He said that he went to the Georgetown Hospital but saw no one, and later learnt that she wasn’t taken there but to the parlour. He said that he hadn’t any information where she was shot or how the shooting occurred.
He called on the police to work harder to deal with the country’s escalating crime situation and to work vigorously to find his wife’s killer.