A mentally-challenged vendor was yesterday fatally shot in his back by a city lance corporal as he allegedly attempted to flee custody, a day after he was in a scuffle with a city constable during which both men suffered injuries and a shot was fired.
Police yesterday said that the lance corporal who fired the shot at 33-year-old Marlon Fredericks, a vendor of Tiger Bay, has been taken into custody following the incident around 1.15 pm.
There were differing versions yesterday on how Fredericks was fatally shot but the killing and the scuffle the day before will raise once again concerns about the manner in which the security forces apprehend and restrain suspects.
Fredericks was pronounced dead by paramedics yesterday afternoon as his lifeless body lay on the pavement in front of Cell Point on Regent Street, near to the City Constabulary Outpost at Bourda. Fredericks was clad in a pair of blue short pants and was shirtless.
An aunt of Fredericks told this newspaper yesterday that her nephew was taken into custody on Saturday on an allegation of robbery. She further stated that her nephew suffers from mental illness and did not deserve to die the way he did.
At the time that the incident occurred at the Bourda Outpost yesterday, Fredericks’ mother, aunt and another relative had gone to visit him and to carry food and clothes. The aunt said that when Fredericks saw his mother he ran to her. She added that the lance corporal gave chase to her nephew, who fell on the ground near the outpost. It was then she alleged that Fredericks was shot by the rank.
Bystanders shared similar stories and voiced their displeasure at the treatment of the mentally ill man. Some persons could be heard shouting that Fredericks was not armed and could have been restrained by the lance corporal, who made no effort to do so.
The police in a press release stated that the City Constabulary Lance Corporal who fired the fatal shot had been taken into custody .
According to the release, enquiries disclosed that the victim, who was in custody at the Outpost for assaulting a peace officer and simple larceny, allegedly forced his way outside of the lockup when it was opened to let out another prisoner to use the toilet.
It was then, the release added, that a struggle reportedly ensued between the victim and the lance corporal who tried to restrain him and in the process the prisoner (victim) ran out of the Outpost and was fatally shot once in the lower back by the Lance Corporal who was armed with a service pistol.
The body is presently at the Lykens Funeral Home awaiting a post-mortem examination.
The weapon along with eight live rounds and a spent shell has been lodged as investigations continue.
Town Clerk, Royston King issued a similar press release yesterday, adding that the “City Council is always deeply saddened when lives are lost in the course of ranks of the City Constabulary carrying out their duties and (urging) citizens to cooperate with ranks of the Constabulary in the lawful execution of their duties.”
A day earlier, there was chaos in the vicinity of Robb and King Sts when Fredericks attempted to disarm a city constable in a bid to escape arrest in connection with larceny and other matters.
In the incident which occurred at around 11 am, both Fredericks and the constable were injured and a shot discharged. Public-spirited citizens assisted in the restraining of Fredericks. He and the constable were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where both were treated. The policeman was sent away after treatment while Fredericks was detained for observation. He was apparently released later into the custody of constables at the Bourda Outpost.
A video surfaced on Facebook on Saturday with the now deceased man and the member of the city constabulary in a scuffle on Robb Street, after Fredericks allegedly attempted to disarm the rank.
The video showed the mentally ill man being kicked several times in his head by a man identified as a member of the joint services who was in the vicinity when the incident unfolded and assisted his colleague in the arrest of Fredericks.