Police, while chasing a suspect at Hadfield Street yesterday morning, accidentally shot an Office of the President employee in her ankle.
Juliet Bobb-Semple, 54, of 36 Hadfield Street was sitting at the side of her lower flat apartment speaking to a neighbour when she was wounded in the right ankle. The woman was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) where she underwent surgery.
Stabroek News understands that police were pursuing Dillon Hudson who is wanted in connection with the wounding of a minibus conductor. Police were unable to apprehend Hudson and up to press time had not issued a release on the matter.
When this newspaper visited the Hadfield Street address shortly after 12 pm Bobb-Semple’s neighbour, who she was speaking to at the time of the shooting, reported that police were chasing a man who was said to be living nearby. The man, according to the neighbour, jumped their fence in an attempt to escape the police.
“We sitting there talking and we notice three policemen in the yard next door so she [Bobb-Semple] tell me something going on,” the neighbour explained. “The next thing I know this man jump our fence and I hear bang!”
After hearing the shot, the neighbour recalled, they noticed blood “gushing” from Bobb-Semple’s ankle. The injured woman cried out in pain and subsequently collapsed. Meanwhile, the suspect dashed past them and proceeded to jump another fence in his desperate flight.
The shot was discharged in the neighbouring yard, from which Hudson fled, by a rank dressed in civilian clothing. Police pursued Hudson into the Lot 36 Hadfield Street yard but abandoned their chase after they realized Bobb-Semple had been wounded.
“Is only when the police reach in we yard and realize that she bleeding they stop chasing the man and called an ambulance to take her to the hospital,” the neighbour related.
Bobb-Semple, a GPH press release said, was taken to their Accident & Emergency Unit at 11:33am with a gunshot wound to the right ankle. The woman according to them was taken to the theatre for surgery.
The woman’s husband told this newspaper last evening that he’d dropped her home sometime around 11 am yesterday. Bobb-Semple, he explained, would normally spend her lunch break at home. Compensation, he stressed, is something that the family intends to pursue with the Guyana Police Force.
Dillon Hudson’s sister, who lives nearby, told this newspaper yesterday afternoon that police barged into her home before the shooting that morning and took her reputed husband and another brother into their custody.
Dwayne DeGroot and Devon Hudson were released several hours later after they were questioned by police. Speaking to this newspaper shortly before 5 pm yesterday Devon said that he and DeGroot were watching television when the police showed up. Dillon, according to him, was “somewhere” in the apartment.
“We been in the sitting room getting ready to enjoy the cricket when these three policemen show up at the door,” Devon recalled. “They ain’t say what they want but just grab me and Dwayne.”
According to Devon, the officers did not provide a search warrant nor did they explain their reason for searching the apartment. The man explained that he and his reputed brother-in-law were treated “roughly”.
“They ain’t even give us chance to put on proper clothes,” Devon said. “They just force us down the steps and push us out the yard and went with us to the police station.”
He and Dillon, the man explained, would normally visit their sister and DeGroot who live in the upper flat apartment. At the time he and DeGroot were being forced downstairs by police, Devon related, Dillon was in some other part of the apartment.
According to Devon, as they were being pushed towards the gate by two policemen he heard “a commotion” and immediately turned around only to see his brother, Dillon, dashing towards the zinc fence. Dillon, he said, jumped the fence and immediately after, the third police rank pursuing him discharged the shot.
Devon contended that the police officer who discharged the shot could see Bobb-Semple and her neighbour talking at the side of the Lot 36 building.
“From where we de standing we had a clear view of that woman talking to her neighbour and he coulda see her as well,” Devon stated. “I think he made the wrong decision.”
Further, Devon reported that while in police custody he was only asked his name and then police said that it was his brother, Dillon, who they wanted. Stabroek News was unable to speak to DeGroot, however, Devon informed that his brother-in-law was questioned extensively by police and had given them a statement.