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Suspect To Be Charged After Officer Shot With Own Gun

By LAMECH JOHNSON Tribune Staff Reporter ljohnson@tribunemedia.net CHARGES will be brought against a man, who while in police custody in hospital, disarmed the officer of his gun, shot him in his neck, and left him in critical condition with hospital staff traumatised as he made his escape. While press liaison officer Inspector Chrislyn Skippings could not specify a date within the week when the 25-year-old of Matthew Street man, who was later apprehended, would be brought before the courts, she said it would be "very soon". A wanted bulletin with photograph was put out by police early Saturday morning for the Nassau Village man after the policeman was shot in the Accident and Emergency department of the Princess Margaret Hospital hours earlier. The fleeing man, who police said was "very well known" to them, pointed the policeman's gun at patients and staff as he made his escape through the hospital's maze of corridors and locked doors. It was reported, but not confirmed, that once outside the hospital he jumped on the back of a waiting motorcycle and disappeared. However, Insp Skippings could not confirm "at this time" the truth of the motorcycle escape reports. A press conference was held Saturday at 4pm in the Public Hospital Authority boardroom concerning the incident. Attending the conference were senior police officers, hospital administrators, the minister of health and the critically injured police officer's surgeon. Health Minister Dr Perry Gomez gave a detailed report of what happened at midnight on Friday. "A young male apprehended by the police was brought to the Accident and Emergency department for evaluation of a medical complaint. The patient was escorted by an armed police guard to the radiology department. The handcuffs were removed to facilitate a request to go to the bathroom. "He subsequently attacked and disarmed the officer, then shot the officer. Emergency medical personnel facilitated the transfer of the officer to Doctor's Hospital for emergency surgery." Dr Duane Sands, who was consulted and asked to lead the surgery, confirmed that the officer was shot in the neck, but the injuries were more extensive than they seemed at first. "This young officer, unfortunately, was very seriously injured. He sustained among other injuries, a gunshot wound to the left neck. The bullet was lodged and remains lodged in his right chest. "He requires a number of surgical procedures to be performed and at this point in time is listed in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Given the nature of his injuries, including a serious injury to his spinal cord, we anticipate that he will remain in the intensive care unit for some time. And it is possible that he may require further surgical procedures." Dr Sands praised the police force for their commitment to protecting the public by putting their lives daily on the line for them. During the press conference, Assistant Police Commissioner Leon Bethell, received a call to inform him that the man they were looking for had been arrested without incident sometime around 3pm on Bimini Avenue off Market Street. This weekend's incident left hospitalised staff traumatised from a weapon being pointed in their direction. Dr Gomez said that "counseling was actioned immediately for staff affected by the incident." Dr Geoffrey Pennerman, Chief of Medical Staff, said that while there was emotional overlay from the incident, staff were back to work and patients in Accident and Emergency were being treated.

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