With five of six unmasked men in his house terrorizing his family and employees the owner of L&D Sales Centre put fear aside, picked up a cutlass, ambushed the robbers and was fatally wounded.
Dennis Ramah, 62, of Second Street Chateau Margot, East Coast Demerara was shot twice by the gunman he had chopped. Ramah later succumbed to his wounds at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC).
Screams and gunshots coming from the Ramahs’ house alerted residents that danger was in their territory. Ranks at the nearby Beterver-wagting (BV) Police Station were informed and even before their arrival a member of the Community Policing Group (CPG), Davenand Shyamraj, attempted to subdue the fleeing bandits.
Shyamraj was injured during an exchange of gunfire with two of the perpetrators. Another man, 72-year-old Daniel Muller, was riding past the area on his bicycle at the time and was injured as well. Both men have been admitted to GPH.
Several minutes later the two perpetrators were discovered injured a short distance away in a neighbouring village. One of the perpetrators, who remained unidentified up to press time, was fatally wounded and the second, who identified himself as Victor Bobb, is a patient under guard at the GPHC.
A third man was apprehended by residents at the Ramahs’ Second Street residence. Two other suspects were seen by residents jumping into a yellow car on the Chateau Margot Railway Embankment road. The sixth perpetrator in the group was driving the vehicle.
Commander of Police ‘C’ Division Gavin Primo gave the assurance that ranks are vigorously hunting for the three perpetrators who managed to escape. Several hours after the incident, in a press release, police said that several spend shells were recovered at the scene.
“The police release said: “At about 0930h…a group of five men, two of whom were armed with a firearm and a knife, entered the business premises of the L & D Supermarket …where they held up the employees and placed them to lie on the ground.
“The owner of the business, Dennis Ramah…raised an alarm while managing to arm himself with a cutlass and attacked the bandits chopping one of them. During this process Ramah was shot twice to his chest and the bandits subsequently ran out of the house.
“Members of the public responded and gunshots were heard. During this gunfire (Shyamraj) was shot and injured to his right thigh and left arm and Daniel Muller was shot and injured to his right shoulder.
“The body of an unidentified man of African descent who is suspected to be one of the bandits was found lying on the roadway with gunshot injuries and another suspect who gave his name as Victor Bobb, 26 years of “B” Field, Pattensen, ECD, was found with severe wounds in the area and is currently in a serious condition receiving medical treatment at the GPHC. A third suspect was arrested by public-spirited persons in a yard and was handed over to the police.”
When SN arrived at the scene shortly after 9:30am, police were already present and were taking statements from the Ramah family members. According to the dead man’s son Nigel Ramah, there were six robbers in all but they did not manage to steal anything.
“One came to mek sure the place clear,” he reported. Shortly after, five unmasked men “storm the place” he added.
The men, Nigel said, “Pick up two of the employees and brought them upstairs and same time my mother and my wife were upstairs and held them up and was asking for jewellery and money…”
Meanwhile, his father ambushed the robbers on the back step where he chopped one of the men. The man that Dennis chopped was armed with a gun and in retaliation shot him twice. Dennis sustained gunshot wounds to his back and in his arm, Nigel said. At the time of the attack, Nigel said, he was downstairs.
As Nigel recounted the incident, which occurred around 9.30am, police were inside the home taking statements from the wife of the deceased, Lorine Ramah and their daughter-in-law. The officers restricted media access to the house.
Lorine who was traumatised from the incident had to be constantly reassured and comforted by her family members.
Camille Skelikie who works as a domestic for the Ramahs’ was still shaken from the attack as she recalled the incident near tears, “I been done picking up egg I did going upstairs and the man hold me by me hand and carry me upstairs and tell me don’t talk and he want all the money I got.
“I say me ain’t got money and the lady wa deh upstairs she been sleeping and she say wa happen and the man wa got the gun put it by she head and they put me fuh lie down pun the ground.”
While on the ground, the woman said that one of the men began to kick her. One of the blows was to her eyes.
Another of the Ramahs’ employees, a 15-year-old, told this newspaper that they were in the lower flat business place with two other employees and Dennis. However, he explained that when the five men barged in and demanded money Dennis was out of their sight.
“Dem start ask we fuh money and so and after we tell them that we na got none they carry we upstairs in de house and put we fuh lie down on de floor,” the traumatized teen told this newspaper. While in the house, they recalled, the perpetrators demanded valuables from “the boss man wife and the next thing I hear is gunshot.”
“De whole time meh was wondering if meh woulda come outa this place alive…meh got meh family fuh look after,” the teen stated.
Meanwhile, a neighbour who gave her name as Nadira said that she heard shouts of “we get rob” and was told by her mother to call the police. The police, she said, responded promptly to the call.
Nigel Ramah was still talking to media operatives when a relative came down stairs and told him that his father had died and “we ain’t know how to tell ya mother”.
The man overcome with grief at the news sat on the ground and broke into tears. He was quickly surrounded by comforting relatives and friends. Upstairs meanwhile loud wailing could be heard as the news of Dennis’ death started to spread.
Shortly after, Nigel who had gone upstairs came rushing downstairs again with his pregnant wife who had passed out in her grief. She was rushed to the GPHC where she was treated.
As he struggled to deal with his emotions Nigel told Stabroek News that this was not the first time his family had been robbed. Last August, he said, three men held up employees and escaped with cellular phone cards and over $100 000 in cash. One of the three attackers was later identified by Nigel after he was held in another robbery. The matter was taken to court and is still ongoing.
The man also said that for the last five years he has been making repeated attempts to obtain a licence for a firearm. However, on several occasions his application has been denied.
“I don’t understand why they are not issuing a gun licence to me. I meet all the requirements and because I own several business operations I need to be armed as a measure of protection,” the man said.
Shyamraj and Muller
At the GPHC this newspaper spoke to the wife of the community policing member who was shot and she said “so far he doing well”. Shyamraj, was shot in his right upper leg.
The woman who declined to give her name said that she and her husband lives on the Railway Embankment Road, which is around the corner from the Ramahs’ residence, when they heard their neighbours shouting “thief”.
Her husband, she explained, left their house in his vehicle when he came into contact with the two men who escaped the robbery scene on foot. The robber who was chopped by Dennis was the man who shot her husband she pointed out.
Meanwhile, when SN visited Daniel Muller’s Success Housing Scheme home relatives had already been informed of the incident. Subhagia Muller told this newspaper, her husband left home that morning to attend the clinic at La Bonne Intention (LBI).
Muller was riding his bicycle along the Railway Embankment, returning home from clinic, when he was caught in the crossfire between Shyamraj and one of the perpetrators.
“That old man was shocked,” an eyewitness told Stabroek News. “Poor man didn’t know what was going on around him.”
Muller, his son Baldeo said yesterday, was treated and admitted to GPHC. Other siblings and relatives, Baldeo said, had gone to the medical institution to be with Muller and ensure that he was being provided with his needs.
After the alarm was raised, four of the five perpetrators at the Ramah’s residence managed to dash out of Second Street. The men, residents explained to SN, ran west out of Second Street and then south along the Chateau Margot Chimney Road towards the Railway Embankment Road.
When the men reached the junction, a worker in the area reported, they initially tried to force their way into a house which was finishing up a religious function. However, resistance from Shyamraj caused the four men to split up.
Bobb and his now dead partner kept running east along the Railway Embankment road towards LBI area where they were later found. The other two perpetrators dashed away in the opposite direction and jumped into the waiting yellow car.
The car, residents told this newspaper, had a licence plate but they were unable to make out the number. Three men, according to them, were in the vehicle which sped west towards Georgetown.
A resident of Fifth Street, LBI said that she was on her front step when she received a call from her granddaughter saying to go inside and lock up.
Before she could make it inside, the woman said she saw a man bleeding from the shoulder run through her street and stop to rest on the fence of her neighbour. Shortly after two policemen came and held the man down.
“Me neva see something like that police with lang lang gun in this area,” the woman related with excitement.