Suspected bandits injured in shoot-out with cops at Canje

The cemetery in which the suspects were cornered

Deodat Seecharran called ‘Popcorn’, 20, of Edinburgh Housing Scheme, East Bank Berbice, was shot to his buttocks; Zafir Abdul, 22, of Adelphi Housing Scheme, Canje, was shot to his left hip; and Keshwar Harrinarine, 31, of Fyrish, Corentyne, was shot to his  buttocks, police said. The trio is currently under police guard at the Georgetown Public Hospital where they were taken after being referred from the New Amsterdam Hospital.

The targets of the attempted robbery, Indira Parasram, 40, and her husband Rajesh Parasram, 41, a foreman at the Rose Hall sugar estate showered praise on the police yesterday for their quick response.

One of the suspects at the GPHC yesterday

In a statement, the police said that at about 1am yesterday, three men attempted to break into the Parasrams’ home but Rajesh was aroused by the sounds being made and raised an alarm. The three men ran away, discharging a round in the direction of the house as they did so, the police said.

The statement said that the community policing group in the area was alerted and mobilized themselves in search of the men and the police were also informed. “The police responded quickly to the report received and while approaching the area on foot, they came under fire from the bandits who were in the compound of a Mandir in the vicinity. The police returned fire but the men managed to escape from the compound and headed in the direction of the backdam area,” the statement said.

The police said that back-up ranks were summoned and the police continued their pursuit of the men and caught up with them at the Betsy Ground Cemetery but the men again opened fire on the police and the police responded, injuring all three men in the process. The suspected bandits were then rushed to the New Amsterdam Hospital.

The police said that a number of shotgun pellets were recovered from Parasram’s house and a shotgun barrel along with an empty 12-gauge shotgun casing was found at the cemetery. Subsequent searches resulted in the stock and other parts of the 12-gauge shotgun used by the perpetrators being found in the Betsy Ground Cemetery.

The cemetery in which the suspects were cornered

The statement said that a man who is suspected to have been the driver of the car used by the bandits has been arrested after he was found in the vicinity and the vehicle was seized. Investigations are continuing.

When Stabroek News visited the Lot 3, Betsy Ground home of the Parasrams yesterday, the family praised the police for their quick response. Indira recalled that her husband Rajesh returned home at around midnight and as he normally did, re-checked the windows to see if they were locked. He found a window open and asked her if she had closed it and she responded in the affirmative. Indira recalled that shortly after, her son who was studying for exams, heard a sound and alerted her that there was a strange noise downstairs. She woke up her husband and when they checked, they saw two men leaning on the walls at the side of their home.

Indira recounted that Rajesh started to shout and asked the bandits what they were doing in the yard. She said that her husband picked up a door bar and brandished it as he continued shouting. Shortly after, she said, the men jumped over the fence and ran to the mandir located in a nearby street, opposite them. She said that she saw them running there as by this time, she and her sons were on their veranda.

The woman said that her husband had also called a rural constable in the area and while he was coming in his car, the bandits fired a shot at him and another round at the family on the veranda, who scrambled back into the home. She said that the rural constable contacted the Reliance police station and ranks responded promptly.  After the police realized that the bandits were shooting at them, she said, they called for back-up from the Central police station which promptly arrived.

Indira said that there were four car loads of police at Betsy Ground and after the bandits became aware of their presence, they began firing wildly at the ranks who responded. Stabroek News was told that this exchange of shots continued for approximately 30 minutes. The woman later added that after this there was sporadic gunfire. Other residents of the area initially thought it was squibs.

The woman said that the police eventually left the area at about 4:30am yesterday and caught up with the suspects at around 5am at the Saint Patrick cemetery in Rose Hall. Stabroek News was told that the men again fired shots before they were captured. Indira said that she heard that the bandits were hiding in a broken tomb in the cemetery.

Indira praised the police for their response and also thanked God for saving them. No member of the family was injured nor did the house sustain any damage, she said. (David Papannah)

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