Teen shot in ‘Cobra’ operation released on bail

The teenager shot during a police operation capture fugitive Tyrone ‘Cobra’ Rowe was released on bail over the weekend

A senior police officer told Stabroek News that 17-year-old Osafie Johnson was released on station bail on Saturday. A relative of the teen later said that the family had to raise $60,000 bail. The teen would have spent about 24 hours in the Brickdam Police Station lockups, where he was taken after being discharged from hospital.

According to the officer, Johnson was taken to the station since he was under guard while in hospital. Asked about the allegation that the teen was in possession of a weapon, the officer stated that, along with other aspects of the investigation, will be compiled and sent to the Director of Public Prosecu-tions for advice.

Meanwhile, a close relative of Johnson told Stabroek News, “everything ain’t alright wid he but he comin around,” when asked about his condition. This newspaper was told that the bail was paid shortly after lunch on Saturday and when the teen emerged he looked very pale. Relatives said that they did not want to discuss the matter any further.

On Friday, several relatives had express dissatisfaction with the teen being discharged because of the seriousness of his injury and his weak appearance. However, the Georgetown Public Hospital, where Johnson was receiving treatment, yesterday disputed the statements made by relatives saying that the teen was “up and about” and had asked for self discharge two days earlier.

In a statement issued yesterday, the hospital said, “Management is appalled at the statements made by the relatives of Mr Johnson, who claimed that he was prematurely discharged.” The hospital explained that the patient was admitted to the hospital on July 4 and spent a total of five days, including two in the High Dependency Unit. As his condition improved, he was transferred to the Male Surgical Ward.

The hospital said it was explained to the patient’s relative that “although the bullet was still lodged in him, his condition had improved. The consultant who treated Mr Johnson explained that the bullet is ‘incidental’ and can be removed at anytime, for it is not the bullet that is treated, the priority lies in treating the injury which is caused by the bullet,” it explained. Further, it pointed out that Johnson “was up and about in the ward and had even requested discharge two days prior to last Friday. However, his condition was still being monitored and fluids were still being drained so he could not be discharged, at that time.” It was further explained that prior to his discharge, Johnson was closely monitored and he was not receiving any oxygen. His blood pressure and blood count was normal, the chest tube was removed and his condition was listed as stable, the hospital said. “Management is at wits end with the fact that disgruntled individuals continue to use the hospital as a scapegoat whenever a problem is encountered and who seek to discredit the hospital’s competent staff who work very hard to provide quality care and preserve the lives of its clients,” it added.

Around 3 pm on July 4, police said, ranks of a police anti-crime patrol, acting on information, confronted the wanted man and a group of five other men who were on the roadway at East Ruimveldt Front Road, Georgetown. On seeing the police, ‘Cobra’ and two of the men began running and one opened fire on the police. The ranks returned fire, during which Johnson was shot and injured to his upper left shoulder and left foot, according to police.

A 9 mm Beretta pistol with three matching rounds was found in his possession, the police said. Two of the group were arrested however ‘Cobra’ and the others managed to escape. Stabroek News was unable to ascertain at press time last evening, if the two men were still in police custody.

Police Commissioner Henry Greene has since said Johnson was part of the gang and it was he who opened fire on the police. The police’s version was disputed by an eyewitness who had recalled the teen been chased by at least six ranks including a woman who were shooting wildly. The eyewitness said that he did not notice anything in the teen’s hand and from all appearances he was trying to get to the safety of his home.

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