-security camera images enhanced
A man, suspected to be one of three perpetrators who attacked and robbed Safraz’s Bar and Restaurant, murdering a waitress and leaving two persons injured, has been detained.
Stabroek News learnt from a senior police source yesterday afternoon that late Saturday night ranks arrested the suspect. The source, when questioned about details of the arrest, could not give further information without jeopardizing the investigation.
At about 9.10 pm on Friday three men, two of whom were armed with handguns, attacked and robbed patrons and staff of the bar located on David Street, Kitty, Georgetown. The men were not masked.
Initial investigations, police said in a release on Saturday, revealed that the three men entered the night spot and held up the patrons and staff.
They then proceeded to rob several persons of their jewellery, cash and cellular phones in addition to the proceeds of the day’s sales from the bartender.
The source also confirmed that a hidden security camera in the bar recorded the robbery. Initially, the source said, much could not be gleaned from the footage because of the poor quality. However, a specialist has since “cleaned up” the recording and valuable information has been gathered, the source reported.
“At first we weren’t sure the recording would be of much use,” the source told Stabroek News, “but after our professional stepped in and dealt with what we had we were able to get a lot out of it…we watched most of the attack at Safraz’s unfold.”
Technological skills, the source noted, are something the Guyana Police Force has been working steadily to improve. In this case the force’s proficiency in that area has helped it to work quickly, the source said.
During the robbery, waitress Kulmattie Singh, 35, of Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara (ECD), was shot to her head and reportedly died on the spot. Jason Montgomery, a 36-year-old Australian national; and Ronald Dhanraj, 39, of Ogle, ECD, were shot and injured.
Montgomery was shot to his abdomen and has been admitted a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital, while Dhanraj was shot under his left arm and is a patient at a private hospital.
The recording, according to the source, has revealed that Montgomery was shot after he retaliated when one of the gunmen searched him for valuables.
“The gunman was pushing his hand into Montgomery’s pocket and Montgomery elbowed him,” the source said, “and the gunman after shouting a very obscene phrase at the Australian shot him in one fluid motion. There was no hesitation in that movement.”
Montgomery was up to yesterday still a patient in the High Dependency Unit of the GPH. When this newspaper visited the man he was in some pain but appeared to be in a stable condition.
Kulmattie Singh has been hailed as a hero by the bar’s proprietors.
Speaking to Stabroek News on Saturday the couple had said they were eating dinner when three men entered the premises and started the surprise attack on the patrons. They immediately started to demand that persons hand over their jewellery and other valuables, which the customers did.
They’d said that while the gunmen were on the premises, they and some of the patrons managed to run to safety at the back of the building. Singh, they said, was manning the bar when the attack started. The men had already taken the day’s sales from Singh, this newspaper understands, and she was trying to assist patrons to safety in a room at the back of the bar when she was shot by one of the gunmen.
Stabroek News learnt from the senior police source that the proprietors’ account has since been supported by the recording.
However, as Singh attempted to help the patrons she turned around and, according to the source, said she was going to call the police. This, the source said, was revealed in the recording as well as statements taken from witnesses. After the woman turned she was shot to the back of the head by one of the gunmen.
“The bullet entered the back of her head,” the source said, “and exited in front through her mouth…when we visited the scene her teeth and the ammo shells were still on the floor.”
Ronald Dhanraj, the other injured man, is currently a patient at a private city hospital. The man, this newspaper understands, was still in a serious condition yesterday.
After the brazen attack, police had also reported, the three assailants escaped in a waiting Toyota Carina AT 192 motor car. As investigations continue police were up to late last evening hunting for the attackers.
Several hours later the same night, just before midnight, Vibert Weekes was shot dead outside another popular city bar.