Residents of Mahaicony who witnessed the shooting death of the bandit on Friday afternoon have reported that the police shot at the bandits as they were escaping.
An accomplice who had escaped with the booty was later caught while trying to board a minibus.
The two had earlier broken into a house belonging to Veerapen Jebode, 58, and his wife, Gangawatti, 53, at Good Faith, Mahaicony and escaped with over $1 million in jewellery and a small amount of cash, a cellular phone and other articles.
Gangawatti and a neighbour boarded a minibus with the bandits and were at the next village—Dundee, Mahaicony—when they saw the police vehicle approaching they shouted for the driver to stop.
Police said in a press release yesterday that officers from the Mahaicony Station responded to the report and during the investigations came under fire from two men who were in the area.
The police returned fire and one of the men was fatally shot, while the other escaped into the backlands.
But according to residents, when the minibus stopped, the bandits jumped out and started running. The police gave chase and fired shots at them, apparently in an effort to get them to stop. They said one bandit collapsed to the ground while his accomplice escaped. A .32 snub-nose revolver and a 9mm. pistol were recovered at the scene by the police.
A bag containing a pair of binoculars, a cell phone and a cap were also found. Gangawatti also recognised some of her personal items in the bandits’ bag, including cosmetics, clothing and a roll of scotch tape.
Gangawatti, who was alone at home, was resting in a hammock in the front yard and did not realise she was being robbed. It was not until her husband, a minibus driver, returned home and she got up to give him his lunch that she noticed the bottom flat ransacked. She then went upstairs to investigate and by then her feet “start to tremble” when she noticed the three bedrooms and living room in disarray.
Veerapen then left to make a report at the Mahaicony Police Station and Gangawatti raised an alarm. About five minutes later neighbours spotted the two suspicious-looking men walking calmly out of a nearby dam.
They then telephoned the police and told them to “come now, bandits in the village.” A neighbour approached them and inquired whether they were from the area and they replied that they were not.
The bandits tried to stop minibuses to take them towards Berbice. But in an effort to stall them until the police arrived, the neighbour flagged down the buses ahead of them and told the drivers not to pick them up.
They then decided to stop and board another bus coming from the opposite direction. Gangawatti and the neighbour “jumped in with them,” fearing that they would escape.
Earlier, two bandits, fitting similar descriptions battered and robbed a shopkeeper at Chester, West Coast Berbice and her son before turning their guns on a group of residents who chased after them.
Aleema Alli, 53, and her son Asif, 28, were tied up and robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash and four cellular phones. A family friend who was in her shop was also tied up and stripped of his cash.
The bandits made good their escape in the backlands with residents in hot pursuit. But the bandits fired shots at them and the residents retreated. No one was injured.
The bandits also fired shots at farmers, causing them to abandon their work in the fields. The police, armed with high-powered weapons, later went to the area and scoured it but came up empty-handed.
This newspaper was told that there is a possibility that the two robberies may be connected.