Miner shot while fending off robbers

Gold miner Eldon Chisholm sustained a gunshot wound to the left ear on Monday night while fighting off two men who attempted to rob him and his family.

Chisholm, 46, was treated at a private city hospital and is recovering at his Better Hope, East Coast Demerara home, where the incident occurred. The man told Stabroek News yesterday that he, his wife, their three children and two nieces had just returned from their Easter Monday outing when they were attacked.

Eldon Chisholm

Neighbours later told Chisholm that they saw “two strange men” in the area some time before he and his family returned home. “One of my neighbours tell me that they see when the two men jump the fence,” Chisholm said.

It was around 7.45pm, he recalled, when he and his family returned to their home.

Chisholm was confronted by the two attackers. One of the men, he said, was armed with a gun and the other with a piece of steel rod. “The one with the gun point it in my face and said ‘Don’t [expletive] move’ and he point the gun in my face and he start to push back toward the open front door, you know, he was backing me back into the house,” the man recalled. “And then he push me and I fall.”

As he was on the floor, Chisholm recounted, his teenage niece had been escorting one of his children from their car. Chisholm’s children are 4 years, 3 years, and 10 months old and his nieces are both adults. His niece, he explained, was behind the gunman and the other attacker, armed with a steel rod, had his attention on her. “Is like he [the gunman] didn’t expect anyone to be behind him and he was distracted briefly,” Chisholm recounted. “That was all I need. As soon as he slip for that
couple seconds I get a chance to get up and slam a straight right into his face.”

As the gunman staggered back, Chisholm said, he scrambled inside the house and slammed the door on the man as he tried to force his way in. It was some time during Chisholm’s counter attack that the attacker fired two shots.

One of the bullets, Chisholm said, pierced his ceiling and the second pierced the outer part of his left ear. The man said that the bullet was aimed at his head and it was the action of his wife, Oneika Alphanso, which he believes saved his life.

Lucky throw

As Chisholm struggled to keep his front door closed his youngest child, who recently started walking, started tugging at his leg.
“I was so scared,” the man recalled. “I know that I couldn’t let these men inside my house where they would take advantage of us and my children were in there. I was so scared for them and then my baby come pulling on my foot and I had to study how to keep out the gunman and make sure my child was safe.”

Alphanso told Stabroek News that she had just exited the washroom and saw her husband at the front door with their child. The woman said that she thought Chisholm and his friend were playing with the baby like they usually did. At this time, the woman said, the house was in darkness because they had not been able to turn the lights on.

However, the woman said she soon realised that all was not right when she heard the man telling Chisholm: “If yuh move yuh dead.” Within seconds, Alphanso related, she heard one gunshot.

“I realised that it was either I do something or else is dead he [Chisholm] was dead,” Alphanso said. “So I start backing back to the kitchen. The first thing my hand fall on was a knife. I just pick it up and throw it in his [the gunman’s] face.”

The knife, she said, hit the man and this distracted him enough to ruin his aim at Chisholm and the second shot was fired at the ceiling. Alphanso said she and her husband later learnt that by this time the shots were fired, the gunman’s accomplice had already jumped their fence and started to run west along the street.

Shortly after the woman threw the knife at the gunman, he too decided to escape.

Chisholm believes that had it not been for his wife’s knife throwing skill he would have been fatally wounded. The man said that after the gunman realised that he had not been seriously injured by the first bullet, he decided to fire again.

The attackers, he said, were not masked and police have assured him that they are making all efforts possible to find and arrest them. The man explained that they have been living there for just over a month.

Gun licence

This was the second time that Chisholm has been attacked and injured by robbers since he entered the gold mining industry.

During the late 1990s, the man recalled, he was attacked at his home in Mahaicony. Chisholm was severely beaten and suffered a broken jaw as a result. His attackers had escaped with 12 ounces of raw gold and a quantity foreign and local currency.

A few years after that first attack, Chisholm said, he applied for a firearm license but received no response. The man further explained that about five years ago he submitted a second application for a firearm licence. “After a lengthy time pass and I didn’t see they response and I decided to contact them and I was told that my application was received and had been noted but up to now nobody can’t explain to me why they didn’t approve it,” Chisholm said.

Chisholm said he has given up on being granted a firearm licence. Within the last year, several businessmen have complained about the delay by the relevant authorities in granting them firearm licences. “I don’t feel safe but there is nothing I can do. As a businessman, especially one who deals with gold, I need to have some way to protect myself from these parasites,” he stated.

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