Suspect in Mandela Ave killing being held in lock-ups following hospital release

Lloyd Britton, the man fingered as the shooter in the Mandela Avenue murder of Elvis Fernandes, is now in the police custody after being discharged from the hospital.

Britton, called ‘Lloyden Britton,’ will soon be facing charges, Stabroek News was told, despite conflicting accounts about the July 26 shooting, in which he was shot by a plain clothes policeman.

Earlier this week, two cousins Jermaine Thomas, 23, and Gerome Success, 21 were charged with receiving and concealing the handgun that Britton allegedly used in Fernandes’ murder. They were remanded to prison.

Britton’s mother, Philomena, told Stabroek News that her son was discharged from the Georgetown Hospital on Monday and was presently in the lock-ups at the Diamond (Golden Grove) Police Station. The woman said that the police have not told her whether or not he was going to be charged.

Fernandes’ relatives are not pleased with the way the investigation is going. A distraught Shureen King told Stabroek News that members of her family went to the office of the acting Commissioner of Police Leroy Brumell with a hope of speaking to him, especially since a policeman was involved in the shooting that led to her son’s death.

Based on the police’s investigation, Fernandes was shot in the chest by Britton, who was shot and wounded by a policeman who was trying to pacify an argument that had erupted.

King said that when she arrived at the office, information was taken from her and then later someone returned with a message from Brumell indicating that they should go over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters to speak with Mr. (Winston) Cosbert. Stabroek News understands that Cosbert is performing the duties of Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, who is on leave.

The woman said that she opted not to go as she went to see Brumell and only him. “I wanted to get to talk to him,” King stressed.

Efforts by this newspaper to reach Brumell were futile.

Police, in its only statement on the shooting, had said that Fernandes became involved in an argument between a minibus driver and the driver of a car that he was in at the time. Police said he was shot to his chest by a passenger in the bus, who had started discharging rounds from a firearm. A plain clothes policeman, who was making efforts to pacify the situation, responded and discharged a round from his service firearm which struck the armed man, the statement had said, adding that that the armed man re-entered the minibus and was taken to the Georgetown Hospital by the driver. Police identified the injured man as Britton, 20, of Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara.

When approached by this newspaper in hospital, Britton had repeatedly denied that he was armed at the time of the shooting and has alleged that it was the policeman who discharged three rounds at the bus and Fernandes was hit by one of the bullets.

Fernandes’ relatives too have supported Britton, saying that the policeman and the other person who was in the car with the dead man were his good friends. Relatives say their suspicions grew after the two men began giving inconsistent versions of what transpired. Further, they said it was hard to imagine that Britton fired when he had no connection to what was transpiring. They said too that Britton and Fernandes were not known to each other.

King told Stabroek News yesterday that though she and her daughter had given statements in connection with the shooting, they were never informed that persons were being placed before the courts. The woman said that until now, “I am trying to clear up some things”.

She said that initially they were told that Fernandes was accidentally shot. The woman questioned why nothing has happened to the policeman and his friend who went to her home and collected her son.

According to King, up to now she is unable to collect the ballistic results. She said that every time she turned up at the station, she was told that the officer-in-charge was not in. “Nobody is saying what the policeman was doing there, nothing,” she said, while adding that now there are more questions than answers.

The woman said that her son is already dead and gone, so “let the law prevail.”

She said that the policeman never came to the wake or funeral while the other friend came on the funeral day but quickly left after placing a packet of cigarette in Fernandes’ casket.

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