Police are investigating the reported non-response to calls placed to the 911 emergency hotline number by victims of a robbery at a wake house on Monday night, Police Public Relations Officer Ivelaw Whittaker said.
The response of the Kitty Police Station is also being investigated, according to Whittaker.
The three gunmen attacked the wake house at Shell Road, Kitty late Monday evening, robbing mourners and assaulting a woman who attempted to escape to call the nearby police station.
Ivy Khan said they were holding a wake to mourn the death of her husband, who died of colon cancer on the very morning, when the three young men unexpectedly barged into the gathering of over 20 people and demanded them to be silent.
She said they were getting ready to pack up chairs and tables when the men arrived, all armed with guns. “My son and four other persons were sitting on the bridge and most of the people were gone and relatives alone were left. So, I was walking to the gate when the men come into the yard and one of them cranked a black gun,” she recalled, noting that some family members got scared and ran into the house.
The bandits carried out their attack within three minutes and drove off in a car that was parked at the head of the street.
“They hit me in the back and tell me go inside. So I run inside and bolt the door, grab the cordless phone and call the Kitty Police Station but no one answer. So, I called upstairs and said, ‘Rowena! Rowena! we getting rob!…we getting rob call the police!’” she recalled.
“Everything happened so fast and I came outside when I heard the police,” she further said, adding that there were several policemen with large guns on a patrol van. She related that the police said they were on patrol when they got a call that bandits had just robbed a home in Shell Road.
Nine persons who remained outside got robbed of their monies, cell phones and jewellery. “This is sad because my husband pass away and it was the first night… these were young boys. Right now my inside is shaking and I’m begging God to give me faith,” she said, adding that her family was still thankful “that none of us didn’t get hurt.”
Her son, Raphael Khan related that he had called 911 five times while the gunmen were robbing his family. “At first I thought someone was pulling a prank but that was until they cranked the gun and told everybody not to move that it was a stickup,” Khan said. “At that time they were outside robbing the people and I call 911 like five times and they never answer,” he said.
Khan said that once he knew his mother was safe in her room he walked out of the house and saw the men walking away. “There was a car waiting at the head of the street by Vlissengen Road. It was a white tinted wagon.” A patrol van, he said, arrived at his home about half an hour after he left to report the incident to the Kitty Police Station, which was just a street away from Shell Road.
“Someone got through with another police station and they sent out a patrol crew but I wasn’t there,” he said, noting that the police came and took statements from people who witnessed the robbery.