By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
DOZENS of heavily armed SWAT officers locked down Nassau Village yesterday afternoon, moments after a 22-year-old father of one was shot multiple times and killed while walking in the area.
This latest homicide took the country’s murder count to 134 for the year, according to The Tribune’s records, the highest ever recorded in the history of the Bahamas.
According to police, the victim was walking on Butler Street when he was approached by a grey vehicle from which two men opened fire.
Superintendent B K Bonamy Jr, head of homicide investigations at the Central Detective Unit, said police were called to the scene of another shooting in Pinewood Gardens about half an hour before the murder in Nassau Village. He said police believe the two matters are related.
No one was injured in the first shooting.
“Shortly around 11am we received reports of gunshots being heard in the Willow Tree, Pinewood Gardens area,” Supt Bonamy said.
“Officers responded and discovered a house was shot up. Afterward we received another report of a male being shot at Butler Street in Nassau Village.
“Officers responded and discovered the lifeless body of a male. This male had multiple gunshots wounds to the upper body. According to our information, a grey (vehicle) pulled up as he was walking and opened fire on him. We will stay in this area, for the time being to see what is taking place.”
Police have not officially identified the victim, but The Tribune understands he is Richard Edward Charlton Jr also known as ‘Rev’.
Charlton was acquitted of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery in April 2015.
A friend of the victim, who did not wish to be identified, said Charlton was “arrested multiple times for multiple crimes” and was “no angel”.
“I knew him for a long time, he was not a really bad person, but he was no angel,” the friend said.
“He had his problems, but he did not deserve to die like that, nobody does. Now his son is going to have to grow up without a father. He loved him more than anything and even though he had his issues, he was trying to be a better person. He was looking for a job and he was trying to change his life.”
Bonita Lindo, a long time resident of Nassau Village, blamed the police for the escalating crime in the area.
“I heard the shots from my house and I came to see what happen. I am not saying the police responsible for this murder but when you call the police in Nassau Village they don’t come,” Ms Lindo said.
“The last time they had a shooting in Nassau Village, I called the police, you know what the police tell me? ‘No miss, we aren’t coming, you guys kill up one another and we will pick them up in a body bag,’” she claimed.
“And that is poor for them to say that. I walked down there and I saw him on the ground, his head burst wide open, one gentlemen try to take a shirt to throw over him to stop people from taking pictures.
“The police wait until things happen and then when you call them, they don’t respond and that’s bad, they just want the people to kill up one another, then they will come and clean it up and this foolishness have to stop. I feel bad, all this killing and thing going on, it don’t make no sense, we soon have no more man left, why you think the woman going with woman, no man left, they killing one another,” she added.
On Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie insisted that the Bahamas is “not a killing field” as he suggested that in a matter of weeks Bahamians would see the government’s new and aggressive crime fighting strategies implemented.
Last Friday, Mr Christie said he has been in discussions with State National Security Minister Keith Bell regarding major strategies being put forward and also plans to meet with the heads of the country’s armed forces over crime.
Anyone with information on this murder is asked to contact police at 911 or 919, the Central detective Unit at 502-9991 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 328–TIPS.