An investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances that caused Police Constable Clement Cockfield to shoot his fiancée and fellow officer Shanice Fraser on Tuesday evening, before turning the gun on himself.
The incident occurred just round 10.30 on Tuesday night in the compound of the La Grange Police Station.
Reports are that Fraser, a resident of 28 Middle Road, Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara, had just completed a tour of duty while Cockfield, of 114 Friendship, East Coast Demerara had just reported for anti-crime patrol duty at which time the officer had allegedly uplifted a service revolver with six (6) rounds.
The police, in a statement issued yesterday, said that Fraser, 21, and Cockfield, 22, were last seen on the stairway of the station, a short time after which loud explosions were heard and Fraser came running down the stairs into the compound. She was at that time observed by her colleagues to have been bleeding profusely.
It was reported that attempts were made by ranks on duty to render assistance to the injured Fraser, however, Cockfield pursued her and continued to discharge rounds in her direction, causing her to continue to run before subsequently collapsing in the compound.
Stabroek News understands that the ordeal did not end there, as efforts made by the ranks to subdue Cockfield proved futile, he turned the gun on himself and delivered a fatal shot.
Nursing several gunshot wounds, mainly to her upper body, Fraser was taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital before she was subsequently transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Cockfield was also taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of the duo being engaged in an “on and off relationship,” which had gone sour. However, Renita Hutson, mother of the injured woman, told Stabroek News that she was unaware that the couple were having problems, and as such, expressed disbelief at what had occurred since according to her, Cockfield always showed her a “good face.”
“This was a shock for all of us because I never knew they had any problems, she never came to me about any problems with him, she never told me anything like that… He has always been quiet and I really would like to know what caused him to do something like this,” she added.
Similar sentiments were shared by Cockfield’s mother Colleen, who told Stabroek News that her son had visited her that very afternoon and had showed no signs that anything was wrong.
“He was here yesterday, and he leave here late to go to work…I even ask him about Shanice and he told me that he on duty and he got to relieve her,” the grieving mother said.
Asked about the relationship her son shared with Fraser, the woman said she had only ever met the young woman twice, but was never privy to the couple having any problems.
“I only met her twice; the first time was when he introduced me to her and then another time after that. Then I hear on her birthday last month he proposed to her in Palm Court. I wasn’t mad at him for doing it but I told him to make sure he know what he’s doing,” the mother said.
On a different note, however, the mother is questioning the series of events which led to her son’s death, since the report she received of what transpired does not quite add up.
A sore issue with Colleen is the fact that she was not notified of her son’s death but rather only found out after countless calls to her son’s phone went unanswered.
According to Cockfield’s mother, she had heard of an incident at the police station where her son was stationed and had decided to call to check in on him. However, after numerous calls to her son’s phone went unanswered, she called Fraser’s phone only to be told that she was not home.
It was at this point in time with fear setting in that she decided to call her nephew and they made their way to the West Demerara hospital, only to find out that her son had been shot.
She noted that when she arrived at the hospital, she was greeted by a senior officer who apologized for not having called her, and was told of what had transpired.
However, during another visit to the hospital mortuary yesterday morning, Colleen alleges that in addition to the gunshot wound on her son’s chin, where he had reportedly shot himself, there was a second gunshot wound at the back of his head.
According to her, the examining doctor had confirmed that the injury was indeed a second gunshot wound.
“The first one I saw on Tuesday night was the one under his chin where they say he shoot himself and the bullet exited by a mole on his forehead. But when I went back this morning we see another gunshot at the back of his head and I asked them how he got two gunshots. What they try to tell me was that after he shoot himself, they didn’t move him right away and they saying that like some time pass and like he start moving and they shot him,” the distraught woman explained.
“None of this makes sense to me…this whole situation is so traumatizing for me…this hurts me so much because only yesterday [Tuesday] he was here,” she added, before asking that the incident be properly investigated.
A post-mortem examination on the remains of Clement Cockfield is expected to be conducted on Friday.
Meanwhile, Hutson, commenting on her daughter’s condition explained that up to the time of her interview with Stabroek News, she was yet to receive the full details of Fraser’s injuries. She did note however, that as of yesterday afternoon, her daughter was in a stable condition and still a patient of the ICU.
She is very hopeful that her daughter will make a full recovery.
Stabroek News understands that Fraser has been a police officer for just under two years and was previously stationed at the Leonora Police Station before her transfer to the La Grange Police Station where she has been working for the past six months. It was further related that the two had only been together for five months and had been scheduled duties on different shifts at the station.