The relatives of 14-year-old Ryan Persaud who was struck by a bullet outside his home three months ago and later died, have heard nothing from the police about the investigations and have lost hope that they will ever get answers.
For the teen’s mother, Deborah Fraser, the ranks at the Wales Police Station are to be held responsible for the death as they failed to act when reports of shots being fired in the Vive La Force, West Bank Demerara area were originally made. One of the bullets had struck their home prior to the teen’s death.
Residents of the community had expressed the belief that persons who were on vessels on the water were firing weapons, possibly testing them. According to what this newspaper had been told a report was never made to MARAD.
When contacted Trans-port Minister Robeson Benn told Stabroek News that he has no concrete information about shots being fired but it is something that will be looked into. He said that the last word he had on the case was that the police were conducting an investigation.
Deborah who said that her family is still in grief told Stabroek News recently that they haven’t gone back to the police as ranks keep pushing them around. She said that subsequent to the September 2 shooting she and her husband would visit the Wales Police Station for updates. “We just stop going to the police because they just got us going up and down all the time,” she said adding that the police had no information for them.
“It is just like a waste of time so we will let it go,” she said. When asked if this means that the family has given up the fight to ensure that there is justice, Deborah replied that she is leaving everything in the hands of God. She said that it made little sense to her to try to speak to those in the upper hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force such as the Crime Chief and the Commissioner of Police.
Despite the situation, she said that she and her family are trying to cope the best way they can. Deborah said that they think about the teen every day and they still shed tears when they recall those fond memories.
“We are still grieving,” she said, adding that her three surviving children have returned to school.
Since the teen’s death she said that they have not heard any gunshots from the Demerara River which is located behind their home. As a result she said that she is becoming less afraid that there would be a recurrence.
Shortly after Ryan left his home to go on a shrimp fishing expedition, he was seen running. He was shouting to friends that something had stung him in the back. He collapsed before he reached them and began bleeding from the mouth.
The teen was rushed to the West Demerara Reg-ional Hospital (WDRH) by his parents and pastor but died while being given emergency care. Stabroek News had been told that he had been shot in the left region of the back, just below his shoulder blade.
According to Deborah, the police kept telling them that they have no eyewitnesses. She said that such comments were a turn-off for her.
She said that police first said that when she went to give a statement following the shooting, adding that up until now she still doesn’t know who fired the bullet that struck her child.
She told Stabroek News that what adds to the mystery is that the police say that they have nothing to do any comparison with. She explained that during the post mortem examination, just a small piece of curled up material which the police said was a piece of the bullet was found.
The woman said that the police told her that they couldn’t conduct any tests with what was found.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had previously told this newspaper that it is possible that the warhead first hit something and a small part came off and struck the teen. He said that the fragment which was recovered from the child’s body would be sent for testing.
Based on what he said, the case is at a dead end as what was recovered from the teen’s body did not have the required marking for a comparison to be made. He said that investigators needed the outer part of the bullet which is yet to be found.
Deborah recalled that about three weeks after the shooting ranks from the Leonora Police Station visited the area with a view to finding the bullet, but they left empty handed.
Following the shooting several persons who were on a vessel moored in the river had been detained but they were subsequently released.
He had said that their hands were swabbed for gunpowder residue while noting that a firearm that was found among them did not have the capacity to shoot over such a long distance.
Persaud went on to say that the component removed from the child, and the calibre of the weapon found, did not match. He explained that the component came from a 7.62 calibre bullet.
It is suspected that the bullet that struck the teen came from a high powered weapon. Sources say that this might have been a new type of weapon brought here and it was probably being tested when the incident occurred.
Police to blame
“I blame the police for all of this because they didn’t do nothing when the bullet knock the house,” Deborah said adding that ranks came and took many statements. The incident she was referring to occurred two weeks before the teen was killed.
Vishnu Persaud, the teen’s father had told this newspaper that the bullet that pierced his home came from a boat on the Demerara River. “Over two year this going on. You would hear this shooting and it sound so near… last two week, she [his wife] been a wash wares and the firing start. Next thing, we hear something hit the house.
When we check, it had a hole and we know was a bullet,” the man had said.
The Force’s Office of Professional Responsibi-lity (OPR) had launched an investigation into the conduct of the ranks. It is unclear if that investigation has been completed.