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Witnesses Describe Policeman's Shooting

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

TWO witnesses in the vicinity of the shooting of a senior police officer told a Supreme Court jury what they saw and heard on the evening the policeman pulled into his St Vincent Road driveway.

The first witness yesterday, called by prosecutor Neil Braithwaite, said it was around 10pm that a tenant came to the door to ask for keys.

The man, who is not being named for his protection, is a relative of the tenant’s landlord.

“I went upstairs for the keys,” he said, “and upon going to get the keys, I looked outside the room window and I heard two gunshots.” He said he saw two men run from Supt Fernander’s yard.

On the evening of April 10, 2013, Supt Clayton Fernander was held up by two armed gunmen, who snatched a gold medallion chain from around his neck as he got out of his Ford Explorer. Supt Fernander was shot during the failed robbery.

Maurice Armbrister and Excell Josey, each of whom face a charge of attempted murder and attempted armed robbery, are accused of the late night attack on Supt Fernander.

Both have denied the charges against them and have retained lawyers Wayne Munroe and Romona Farquharson-Seymour – respectively – to represent them.

Mr Braithwaite and Kristan Stubbs are prosecuting the case while Justice Carolita Bethell is presiding over the trial.

“How do you know it was gunshots?” the prosecutor asked the witness yesterday.

“I know how gunshots sound,” the man answered, adding that he works in law enforcement.

The prosecutor asked the witness if he was able to determine the height of the men he saw running from the property.

“Medium height, a little taller than me,” the witness said.

Mr Munroe cross-examined the witness first, inquiring of the witness’s own height.

“I’m 5 ‘10”,” the witness answered.

“You gave a statement to police at 11pm that same night?” the lawyer asked. The witness said he did.

“The men you saw, did you describe them as slim built?” Mr Munroe asked. “Yes, sir,” the witness replied.

“You only told police you heard one shot, correct?” the lawyer then asked.

“I told them two,” the witness replied.

The lawyer asked the witness if his home had CCTV and if so, did police view them after the alleged incident. The witnessed answered “yes” to both questions.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour asked the witness if he saw Mr Fernander when he went back outside to the tenant.

“No, ma’am,” the witness replied, adding that he’d only seen Mr Fernander outside the house sometime afterwards when the man came from inside his home.

The tenant took the witness stand next and told the court: “I was standing in front of the landlord’s door.”

“Then I observe a white car come around the corner at a high rate of speed. Mr Fernander’s car pull in his driveway after that. He had a red Explorer,” the witness continued.

“What happened next?” assisting prosecutor Kristan Stubbs asked.

“I heard a scream and then a single shot,” the jury was told.

The witness said when he walked out to the road to see what was going on, “I saw him (Fernander) running into the road and the white car pulled off.”

The witness claimed the car was a white four-door Acura.

“What did you do?” the prosecutor asked.

“I stand up and I was looking,” the witness replied, adding that he then saw Supt Fernander running back into the yard and into his house.

Mr Munroe then cross-examined the tenant and asked him if he was certain it was an Acura.

“Honda and Acura, they’re the same model car. One is American and the other Japanese” the jury was told.

“You know Mr Fernander is a policeman?” the lawyer asked. The witness said he did.

“When he ran into the road behind the car, was he holding a handgun?” the lawyer asked.

“He was holding his hand and he went in the house,” the witness replied. Mr Munroe asked the tenant if he was sure of this. The witness replied that he was.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour did not cross-examine this witness.

Justice Carolita Bethell asked the nine-member jury to return to court on February 4 as the lawyers would enter into legal discussions that would not require their presence.

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