Was a plainclothes policeman engaged in a mission on behalf of an irate motorist on Mandela Avenue on Friday which resulted in one man being fatally shot and another injured?
This is one of the questions that the police force will have to address following conflicting reports. The police will also have to settle whether the plainclothes policeman accidentally fatally wounded Elvis Fernandes who had been in the same vehicle with him.
Fernandes’ family has so far not spoken about his death but Lloyd Britton, the man who was injured in the Friday evening incident has denied that he had a weapon and that he had discharged the fatal bullet at Fernandes as the police claimed in a press release. Britton’s version is that Fernandes was fatally shot by the plainclothes policeman. Britton said
his wound was as a result of the policeman shooting at him. The police in their statement also said that Britton was shot by the policeman but that Britton had been in possession of a gun.
All of the reports gathered by Stabroek News thus far suggest that the driver of the bus that Britton was in was the target of the attack.
Yesterday Stabroek News staked out the Route 47 (Back Road) bus park in the hope of speaking to the driver of the bus which was attacked.
Some of the other drivers who service the route explained that the man did not work yesterday but one driver shared that the man had told him he indeed believed he was the target of the attack.
The man, who asked not to be named, said the minibus driver told him that in an earlier argument on Friday, he was accused by Fernandes of breaking one of his side mirrors while driving a Toyota 212. The minibus driver though, said that this was impossible since he did not drive a 212 that day.
The minibus driver further related to his colleague that later in the day, a car sped past his bus while he was letting off a passenger. Several men, he said, exited the car with cutlasses and ice picks and began advancing on the car. Fernandes was among them.
The man said that Britton, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, exited the bus and began moving in the direction of one of the men (the plainclothes policeman) who pulled out a firearm and discharged several rounds. The man said he was told that both Fernandes and Britton were hit by rounds from the policeman’s weapon, although Fernandes was most likely hit by accident since he emerged from the same car as the shooter.
According to the police press release issued on Friday, 24-year-old Fernandes of Mandela Avenue, West Ruimveldt, died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the chest, while 20-year-old Britton, of Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara (ECD), was hospitalized after being shot by a plainclothes police officer.
The release further stated that the shooting stemmed from an accident that occurred earlier in the day between the drivers of a car and a minibus. Police said that the two drivers crossed paths later in the day and ended up in an argument when the driver of the minibus stopped to let off a passenger.
During the argument, Fernandes was reportedly “shot to his chest by a passenger in the minibus (Britton) and who had just begun discharging rounds from a firearm,” police said. Britton was then reportedly shot by the plainclothes police rank who the police said was at the time making efforts to pacify the situation.
Britton however, has denied that he had a gun on Friday while in the bus, much less shooting Fernandes.