A week after the death of Ryan Persaud, who was hit by a stray bullet near his home at Vive la Force, West Bank Demerara, his parents and siblings are living in fear that any of them could be next.
Vishnu and Deborah Persaud are hoping that the their three remaining
children do not suffer a similar fate as Ryan, 14, who it is believed was hit by a bullet fired from a boat moored on the Demerara River, which is located behind their home.
According to both parents, they and the children are still on edge even though they are not seeing any boats moored in the river behind their house. They said that they wake up at nights scared that they would be hearing more gunshots.
They have been living in that area for about a decade and a half and according to Deborah in the light of Ryan’s death, they have thought of relocating.
Vive la Force residents said that the firing of weapons has been a regular occurrence over the last two years and reports made to the Wales Police Station were ignored.
They say police never visited the area to investigate or showed any sign of taking their reports seriously, including the report made less than two hours before the teen was killed.
At their home yesterday, the still visibly distraught parents told Stabroek News that it was the police’s negligence that caused their son’s death. “I done forgive them. It done happen and nothing can bring him back. We are Christians and we leave it in God’s hands,” Deborah said. Her tears still flowed two days after she laid her son to rest at the cemetery located in a neighbouring village. Her husband added that “is the police at fault. This would not have happened if they had come…They gotta realise that it knock my house before.” Vishnu was referring to two weeks prior, when a bullet, fired from a boat on the Demerara River, pierced one of the walls of his house.
A soft spoken Vishnu said that earlier in the day he had visited the police and officers said that they are working, “I have to live with that.”
He said that it was explained to him that investigators would be “testing the bullet that they have”—a reference to what Crime Chief Seelall Persaud called the foreign object recovered from the child’s body during a post-mortem examination last week.
The boy’s family had said last week that only an entry wound was visible on the teen’s body just after the shooting, indicating that the bullet was still lodged. However, when they later viewed the corpse, they noticed three holes—one in his back and two in his chest, which they said was a sign that the child’s body could have been tampered with and either the bullet removed or an attempt made to do so.
Vishnu told Stabroek News that he was told that one man was in police custody but this newspaper was unable to confirm this information.
Questions have been raised as to why no charges have been laid against anyone in the case but Vishnu said that so far he is satisfied with the police investigation though he wants faster progress.
Among those questioned and released on bail was the son of a prominent city businessman. Stabroek News had been told that the businessman owns a vessel that was moored in the Demerara River at the time of the shooting and his business is known to have security personnel armed with high-powered guns.
The hands of those questioned had also been swabbed for gun powder residue.
Security sources are suggesting that based on the distance the bullet would have travelled, it was likely fired with a rifle, with the M82, M15 and M16 being among the possible weapons used.
The sources stated that this case should be a cause of concern for the police force as the weapon used may be the first of its kind here. One source said the gun that killed the teen may be an advanced weapon used in combat situations.
According to one of the sources, among the first things the police should do in this sort of case is find the projection of the bullet to ascertain which direction it came from.
The source added that investigators apparently made no attempt to contact MARAD for information on the vessels that were moored in the river behind the teen’s home at the time of the shooting.
This, the source said, would be an essential part of the investigation.
Finding traces of gunpowder residue is important, the source also noted, while emphasising that since it can be removed, finding the shooter early is very important.
The foreign object which was reportedly recovered, the source said should be sent for overseas testing as it might be too advanced for our lab here to handle.
Asked for reasons why the gun was being fired not only from a boat but during the day, the source said the shooter may have been testing the weapon.
Several efforts to contact acting Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell for an update on the investigation and the possible weapon that was used were futile.
Meanwhile, Vishnu and Deborah Persaud said that their two younger children, ages 13 and five, are scheduled to turn out to school on Monday but they are not fully prepared.
They appealed for public help to get them ready. The 13-year-old attends the Patentia Secondary School while the five-year-old attends the Vive la Force Nursery School. Anyone wishing to assist can made contact with the Persauds on 621-2451.