As police continue to search for the man who was caught on camera shooting Debra Blackman, her family is maintaining that robbery was the sole motive for her murder.
Blackman, a 48-year-old mother of five, was shot dead on Saturday evening at the Chinese Delicious Restaurant on d”Urban Street, where she had been working for the last 10 years as a waitress and cashier. Investigators are working with the theory that she was the victim of a botched robbery.
Crime Chief Leslie James yesterday told Stabroek News that there was no further developments in the investigations and that no arrests had been made.
When Stabroek News visited the restaurant yesterday it was shut and no one appeared to be in the building.
There are a number of security cameras mounted on the exterior and in the interior of the restaurant, which had been attacked by armed bandits several times in the past.
Based on the recorded footage seen by this newspaper, at least one camera captured clear images of the shooter and two men who appeared to be his accomplices.
The footage showed a young man, dressed in a grey t-shirt, dark coloured pants and a red cap, entering the restaurant
and standing by the counter. He was the shooter. He paid over money for his order, while two men, both wearing white t-shirts, subsequently entered. Blackman then wrote a bill and took it to the back so that the order could be prepared. She then returned to the counter and took orders from other customers.
The two men who entered after the man in the red cap, acted nervously. One of them, who appeared to be wearing glasses, can be seen pacing in front of the counter. He also appeared to have something bulky under his t-shirt and it is suspected that he had a firearm tucked in the waist of his pants. At one point, the two men walked out of the restaurant before returning.
Though they came in separately, based on the way they were acting it would appear that all three were known to each other.
The man in the cap remained standing at the counter and can be seen constantly glancing around. Though he was wearing the cap, at several points his face can be clearly seen.
Stabroek News was told that Blackman was shot as she was preparing to hand over the food. Footage captured from the cameras outside subsequently recorded the gunman fleeing the scene on a CG motor cycle, this newspaper was also told.
‘A big miss’
Meanwhile, Blackman’s eldest daughter Shelly said that she and other family members have seen the footage and based on what she saw her mother was the victim of an armed robbery.
She also said that given the fact that police have useful footage of the shooter and persons suspected to be his accomplices, their photos should have been released to the media immediately in order to locate them.
Shelly explained that on Monday, her mother’s “bossman” called and invited her family to the restaurant, where they were allowed to have a glimpse at the footage. She said that while looking at the footage they noticed that just before Blackman was shot, the gunman threw a white bag. She added that she inquired from her mother’s employer what it was and the man told her that it was a bag and that it was still where it had landed. She said that the man told them that he had informed the police about it but they never turned up to uplift it.
Shelly said that while they were at the restaurant a relative called the police and a fingerprint expert came and uplifted the bag. She described the bag as being similar to the ones used to deposit money at banks. “I don’t know how they can miss something as big as that because it wasn’t far from her body,” the woman related.
According to Shelly, her mother’s employer called an ambulance, which took a very long time to arrive. The police arrived after the ambulance, she added.
The young woman confirmed that she has a brother in prison but dismissed suggestions that this may somehow be connected to her mother’s death, while maintaining that from what she saw on the surveillance footage the attack was a robbery. “Based on the video…it was robbery because you see when the man pushed the bag,” she stressed, while adding that her mother attempted to run before she was shot.
Shelly stated that police did ask if the family had any problems with anyone. She said that prior to Saturday, the family had not received any threats and her brother had never informed them that someone was threatening to do them harm because of any disputes he had.
Shelly also said the police have made no contact with her or any other relatives on the progress in the investigation.