The Guyana Police Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility has completed its investigation of the March 15th fatal shooting of three men, who ranks claimed were robbery suspects, along the Kitty seawall, Georgetown.
A police source confirmed to Sunday Stabroek that the case file will be sent for legal advice.
The three men—Dextroy Cordis, 46, called “Dottie” of Lot 4 Grove Public Road, East Bank Demerara; Kwame Assanah, a former soldier, of Buxton, East Coast Demerara, and Errol Adams, 57, called ‘Dynamite,’ of Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast and also Buxton—were fatally shot north of the GNS sports ground after police said they opened fire on ranks.
The men, the police said, were about to execute a robbery on a customer who had withdrawn $9.2 million from the bank.
The Guyana Police Force, in a statement on the day of the shootings, said both Cordis and Assanah were identified as “two suspicious looking characters” who were spotted in a car in the vicinity of Scotiabank on Robb Street. They were said to have later trailed the bank customer to the seawall. Police followed in an unmarked vehicle.
“…[They] drove up to the customer’s vehicle and exited, one brandishing a small arm at the customer,” the police statement said.
At this time, police said an anti-crime patrol, which was in close proximity, called out to the men but the one who was armed fired several rounds at the police, who returned fire.
As a result, Cordis and Assanah were fatally shot. Cordis appeared to have been the only one armed and questions have been raised about why Assanah was not subdued by non-lethal force.
The statement added that seconds after the exchange of fire, two men were spotted on a CG motorbike near the dead men’s vehicle and one of them opened fire on the police, who again returned fire. As a result, police said Adams was fatally shot, while his accomplice sped away on the bike.
There have been calls for the killings to be independently investigated from the inception, given the fact that at least one of them was shot in the back. These calls were bolstered on March 26th, when Devon Lyte, who claimed to be an eyewitness, provided a version different from the police’s and gave a sworn statement alongside his attorney, Nigel Hughes. He said he was working on the roof of the Guyana Softball Association building on Carifesta Avenue at the time of the shooting.
Based on his account, Cordis, Assanah and Adams, who were in a black car, were being pursued by the unmarked police vehicle. “…The car from behind start opening fire; I don’t know if it’s at the [black] car or up in the air or what may be the case,” Lyte said. He said the black vehicle eventually stopped and the driver, Assanah, exited. “I then saw about one person come out of the silver car. He walked towards the black car. I then saw the person from the silver car [the police] start to beat the person who had come out from the driver’s side [Assanah] and was lying on the ground,” he said, while noting that the person was beaten while still on the ground.
Twenty minutes later, Lyte said, there was rapid gunfire and there was one person standing over the same person who was lying on the ground.
He said he did not witness any exchange of gunfire and was unable to say if the police were fired upon. There were two bullet holes in the police vehicle and a gun was reportedly recovered from one of the dead men.
Since’s Lyte’s public statement, the police been unable to conduct an interview with him or other reported witnesses since Hughes has indicated that they are fearful for their lives and would not participate in this process if witness protection is not given.