By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT – A family man visiting from Canada was shot and killed in a home invasion and armed robbery in the upscale Emerald Bay Subdivision on Tuesday morning.
The victim – a 56-year-old man – was shot sometime around 7am when three masked armed men broke into the large canal-front residence on Dunton Lane.
The man and his family were visiting a relative in Grand Bahama at the time.
Although his identity has not been released, Police have confirmed that the deceased is a British citizen who lives in Canada.
The Tribune has learned that the victim is believed to be the son the late Colin Dart, a wealthy British resident who died sometime last year. His wife, Joan, was said to be living at the residence on Dunton Lane, in Emerald Bay.
The couple had two sons, one of whom lives in Canada.
Asst Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour said that police are investigating the incident, the island’s sixth homicide this year.
He reported that sometime after 9am, police received information of a shooting incident at a residence over the bridge.
When police arrived at the residence, officers went to a room where a man had been shot. He was Caucasian.
“He had succumbed at the scene and was pronounced dead by a medical doctor,” said the police chief.
ACP Seymour said seven persons were at the residence at the time when the three assailants broke in and held them up.
“The mother was being visited by her children from England and Canada,” he said.
The suspects wore masks, gloves, and dark clothing, and were armed with a handgun and cutlass. They tied up their victim’s hands with duct tape.
A male resident of the home was fatally shot during an argument with the gunman.
The assailants robbed the family of jewellery and several personal belongings.
“This incident is very disturbing to us and to the wider Grand Bahama community,” ACP Seymour said.
When The Tribune arrived at the scene around noon, a woman identified as a friend of the family had tried to get past the police barrier, but was immediately stopped by officers and was told to wait behind the yellow crime scene tape.
The large residence with its attractive gardens is located on a lonely cul de sac. It is situated on the Grand Lucaya Waterway and can be seen from the Casuarina Bridge.
ACP Seymour said the police do not know how the suspects made their way onto the property and into the home.
After robbing the family, he said the suspects fled the residence in a white GMC truck, owned by the gardener.
The vehicle was later recovered by police not far the residence a short time later, he said.
A hearse arrived around 1:15pm and the body was taken from the home around 1:28pm to the Rand Memorial Hospital morgue.
When asked why police were notified some two hours after the incident, Mr Seymour said that the owners were unable to contact the police from the residence.
“There was no telephone or cellular phone at the residence. So after the assailants would have left, the remaining victims left the residence and drove to Central Police Station, and that is when we were notified,” he explained.
Mr Seymour said that while telephones were in the home, investigations found that they had been tampered with by the intruders during the course of the robbery, preventing the family from calling the police.
The police have extended condolences to the family.
“I would have met with the families of the deceased and I have assured them of the police support and cooperation in this investigation… to bring the persons responsible, for this latest homicide, to justice.”
Mr Seymour is appealing to the Grand Bahama community to assist police with their investigations.
“We are appealing to anyone who can assist us in bringing this matter to speedy resolution,” he said.
There had been speculation and rumours that the victim may have been an executive of Polymer International.
However, the company’s Human Resources manager Valerie Barry issued an official statement, denying the rumours.
The press statement in bold read: “Please be advised that Mr Gregory Ebelhar (chief operating officer - polymers international limited) is alive and well, and has no connection to the reported incident that occurred this morning in Freeport, Bahamas”.