By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE woman who was shot dead Wednesday night as she pulled up to her home in the Chippingham area with relatives had just returned from church when gunmen ambushed the family.
She died with her Bible next to her, police said.
Four other persons, including an eight-year-old girl, are in hospital after two armed men opened fire on their vehicle.
Another victim, a 15-year-old boy, was chased by the shooters on foot through the area as he tried to alert neighbours about the incident. A resident of the area told The Tribune yesterday that one of the victims had claimed that someone tried to kill her last week.
The brutal shooting happened just one hour before a businessman was shot and killed in front of his establishment on Mackey Street, which marked December’s first homicide.
The killings took the country’s murder count to 99 for the year and brought an end to the bloodiest month of 2016 thus far.
There were 13 homicides in November, according to The Tribune’s records. The first murder took place shortly after 11pm through Poitier Street.
Officer-in-charge of the Central Detective Unit, Chief Superintendent Clayton Fernander said two armed men ambushed a family of five as they pulled into their driveway.
“The family, including four females one of whom is eight and a 15-year-old male, had just got home and were about to exit their vehicle when two armed men approached the western side of the apartment building and fired shots into the vehicle. As far as we know nothing was said, the men just approached the vehicle and began shooting,” Chief Supt Fernander said.
“All of the occupants were shot to the body. The male ran out of the vehicle and travelled east on Poitier Avenue where he was chased by the gunman who continued to fire at him. During the chase, the young man alerted neighbours in the general area and some persons turned on lights which spooked the shooters and they discontinued their chase. We are uncertain whether they left on foot or in a vehicle. The adult female died on the scene. It was so sad because she died with the Bible right next to her, she was holding the Bible when she was shot.”
The 15-year-old boy is said to be in critical condition and the other victims are listed as serious, but stable.
Police did not release the murdered woman’s name, but The Tribune understands she is Carol Gabriel.
Chief Supt Fernander said police do not know the motive for the crime and are appealing to members of the public for assistance.
A resident of the area, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was in his kitchen getting a drink of water when he heard the shots. He also said one of the victims told him there was an attempt on her life last week.
“I heard shots and I looked outside and I smelled smoke and saw someone running down the road. That is all I saw,” he said.
“I don’t know what happened before that. I looked outside and everyone who was in the car got shot. I didn’t go outside to inspect or look at anything because I did not know what was waiting for me in the dark.”
Vital Nikenson, who identified himself as a roommate of the victims, said he was afraid to stay in the apartment and was scared for his life. Mr Nikenson, who spoke little English, said he believes he is alive today because he decided not to sleep at the apartment Wednesday night.
The second murder took place shortly after midnight Thursday.
According to Chief Supt Fernander, the victim was talking to a woman in front of his business establishment at Ernest Street off Mackey Street, when two men in a silver coloured Nissan Tilda pulled up and robbed him.
The man attempted to run but was chased down by the two gunmen who shot him before speeding off. The victim was rushed to hospital by a private vehicle where he died a short time later.
Police are also investigating a shooting incident that left two men in hospital shortly after midnight on Thursday.
According to reports, two men were walking on Cowpen Road, when the occupants of a silver coloured vehicle armed with firearms pulled up and fired several shots at them before speeding off. The two men were taken to hospital where their condition is listed as stable.
Anyone with information on any of these homicides is asked to contact police at 911 or 919, the Central Detective Unit at 502-9991 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 328-TIPS.