Signs point to ‘hit’ on tyre shop owner

- but motive remains elusive

Just over a week after tyre shop owner Randolph Singh was shot dead execution style, his killer is still roaming free and police are still trying to ascertain the motive for the shooting.

Singh was shot dead on Wednesday as he sat across from the Airmax Vulcaniz-ing shop on Croal Street, chatting with two men.

Sources say that police while having some suspicions, given the modus operandi of the lone gunman, are still working on substantiating information.

Randolph Singh
Randolph Singh

Crime Chief Leslie James in his latest update to Stabroek News said that the investigation is continuing. He said there have been no arrests thus far and the investigators have been unable to come up with a motive.

Persons close to Singh, who had been operating his business for some time, say his death came as a shocker. They say though that something must have gone horribly wrong for the businessman to have received such a cruel death.

One eyewitness had recalled that a man who made no attempt to conceal his identity but was protected by the darkness of the area was seen walking towards the tyre shop from the direction of Cummings Street. The tyre shop is located between Cummings and Light streets and around 22:00 hours when the shooting occurred the area would have been desolate.

According to the eyewitness, the shooter approached Singh and the two men who were sitting under a tree across the road from the tyre shop, stopped, calmly pulled out a weapon and began firing.

The eyewitness said Singh appeared to be the sole target as the gunman aimed the weapon at him and just opened fire.

Dilbert Mohamed, 33, who was sitting with Singh, sustained a bullet wound to the elbow. In his bid to escape the shots he ended up across the road and sought refuge behind a nearby building. Singh was left sprawled at the side of the road with multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest.

Singh was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Hospital where he and Mohammed were rushed by a neighbour. The third man escaped unhurt.

The gunman, according to the police, escaped on a waiting motorcycle. No information has been released as to whether an eyewitness might have gotten a glimpse of the shooter or the licence plate number of the motorcycle. There was also no information as to where the motorcycle might have been parked.

The eyewitness Stabroek News had spoken to could not recall which direction the gunman fled in, as according to him at that point his sole goal was getting to safety.

According to sources, the timing of the shooting was a clear indication that Singh was being watched and the shooting perfectly timed. From all indications, Singh would have been at his business for some time prior, and this points to the gunman being nearby watching his movements.

Singh’s mother-in-law had said in a Facebook post that the businessman had returned to Guyana days earlier to recuperate from an illness. Singh would travel back and forth between Guyana and the USA where his wife and children reside.

The woman also expressed shock, as did many of his friends and acquaintances, at the circumstances under which he died.

A source told this newspaper that it was clear that Singh was executed. The source also questioned why it was that Singh was killed in front of his business place and not, for example, in front of his home. “One has to wonder if there is a linkage between the killing and the place where the killing occurred. This man lived alone so the gunman had another opportunity to kill him…at his home,” the source said.

The source questioned whether the gunman might have gone to Singh’s Charlotte Street, Bourda residence and since he was not there decided look for him at his business place. Singh lived around the corner from his business.

According to the source, like all police investigations, clues could lie in contacting persons who were in the area at the time. The source said that although the area was very dark, combing the area with a fine-tooth comb could produce some results.

The source said just like any murder investigation, the trail becomes cold after a few days. The source said too, public confidence in the police is sometimes a factor that works against police investigators.

According to the source, it may be helpful if businesspersons and members of the public could pay more attention to illuminating their surroundings at nights. The source said that a street light in the vicinity of Singh’s business could have provided a major break in the case.

Relatives and friends of the man said that he had no enemies. It is unclear if the attack might have been sparked by an old grievance or if Singh might had gotten himself into some trouble when he returned to Guyana.

Similar cases

Over the years a number of businessman have been gunned down in front of or at their establishments in a similar manner. Most of those cases are still unsolved.

In May 2010, Anna Catherina resident Terry Bacchus died shortly after he was shot outside his Water Street, Georgetown business place just over a month after he received a threatening phone call. At the time of the shooting, Bacchus was sitting inside his vehicle which later crashed into a pole when he attempted to drive off.

Bacchus who owned the Double Discount store was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital sometime around 10.30 pm. He had gone there to have some drinks with his employees.

One version was that Bacchus’s shooter had been standing alongside his vehicle shortly before discharging the shots and that Bacchus was speaking to the man.

The other account was that a vehicle carrying the gunman pulled up alongside Bacchus and discharged two gunshots.

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