Investigators have arrested a suspect in Monday night’s fatal shooting of Police Constable 19406 Michael Cumberbatch, whose family believes that he was not the original target of the attack.
Cumberbatch, who was attached to the Tactical Services Unit (TSU), was shot dead at his home in the North Sophia Squatting Area, where the gunman was earlier asking for someone named “Quacy”.
It also appears that the gunman had two accomplices; shortly after the shooting three men
were seen walking calmly out of the area before making a dash as they approached the St Stanislaus Farm.
The police said in a statement yesterday that two persons had been arrested in connection with the investigation.
But when contacted about the arrests, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said that based on his information, one man did the shooting and based on his description one arrest was made.
Stabroek News was reliably informed that the suspect, who may have links to the Sophia area, was arrested sometime around noon.
According to the police statement, at around 8.40 pm Cumberbatch was shot and killed by a man armed with a handgun.
Police said investigations have revealed that Cumberbatch was at home, when he was confronted by the perpetrator, who was enquiring about “Quacy”. An argument ensued, during which he was shot to his chest and the perpetrator then escaped, police added.
Cumberbatch was subsequently pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
When Stabroek News revisited the scene of the crime yesterday morning, police investigators had returned with Cumberbatch’s wife in search of additional clues. The woman later erupted into loud wails. Several residents who gathered expressed shock at the shooting, while noting that the slain policeman was kind and helpful.
Cumberbatch’s parents and other close relatives cried out for justice and called on the police to press Cumberbatch’s wife of five years, while insisting that the circumstances surrounding the shooting made little sense.
His brother, Mark, who lives next door, told Stabroek News that he was in his bed and “when I ketch meself I hear a rowing.”
He recalled hearing his brother’s wife saying that nobody name “Quacy” and “no Amerindian girl” lived at their address while the person talking with her replied, “Man, he does ride a colour CG, Quacy. He living with an Amerindian girl.”
Mark said that his sister-in-law insisted that persons matching that description did not live at her address.
According to him, the woman went back into her home and the man who was speaking remained in the yard.
Mark added that shortly after that the woman called for Cumberbatch. “Michael go lang and see that man still deh in de yard. Like he is a drunk man,” he recounted her saying, adding that his brother went to the door and asked the man who he was searching for and asked him to leave.
Mark said that the man in the yard turned and said, “Soldier man, is who you talking to boy? Ah looking for a man name Quacy….” He said the man got angry that he was being told to leave the yard and shortly after that he heard two loud gunshots.
Mark said that by the time he jumped out of his bed and ran over to his brother’s yard, the gunman had already fled. He said he saw his brother lying on the ground in a pool of blood and he covered him with a sheet. The wife, he said, was there screaming.
Mark said that the shooter was in the area all day. He said that when Cumberbatch went home, the man suddenly appeared at the house. He called on the police to question his sister-in-law, while adding that he found it strange that the woman was not hurt during the episode, especially since she would have seen the killer’s face.
“Me buddy done dead and I gotta push out meh belly and tell them these thing because we gotta get justice,” he said.
Meanwhile, the slain policeman’s mother Jacqueline recalled asking her daughter-in-law how Cumberbatch got shot but the woman started to cry. “She telling me how some man come rapping at de door and she open and go back in the bedroom and call he out and tell he, ‘Look somebody out there,’ and she said that is how de man shoot he,” the distraught woman said.
According to Jacqueline, she doesn’t know what to make of the story because she is hearing so many versions. “I wasn’t there so I can’t really tell yuh,” she said.
Cumberbatch’s relatives yesterday expressed the view the gunman might have shot the wrong man and was really after Cumberbatch’s brother-in-law.
A relative yesterday said that recently the woman’s sister and her partner were staying at the residence.
The man, who did not want his identity revealed, told Stabroek News that Cumberbatch was upset that the couple were living at the house, especially since “Jason” was not providing anything. Two days ago, he said, the couple just disappeared.
The relative said that Cumberbatch and his wife had a “talking” over this issue. Based on what this newspaper was told, the brother-in-law’s name is not “Quacy” but “Jason.” It is possible that he may also be known by the name “Quacy”. Relatives said they suspect that the gunman came looking for the brother-in-law but opted to shoot Cumberbatch because the man was not there.
The relative told this newspaper that the wife is the key to the whole puzzle.
Cumberbatch bought the property a few months ago and subsequently moved in with his family.