Gunned Down As They Played Cards: Residents Deny Pinewood Victims Linked To Drugs

The Pinewood community, where residents spoke to The Tribune in the wake of the latest fatal shooting there. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

The Pinewood community, where residents spoke to The Tribune in the wake of the latest fatal shooting there. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff


Tribune Staff Reporter


PINEWOOD Gardens residents have been left shocked and in fear following the weekend shooting spree which left two people dead and four injured.

According to residents, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution, the two men shot dead on Friday night were riddled by a hail of bullets while they were playing a game of cards and were not involved in drugs.

As they come to grips with the “senseless” violence, those who live in the community told The Tribune they are afraid to loiter outside their homes or drive through certain streets at night.

According to police, the first of two shootings in the area occurred shortly after 8pm Friday. A group of men were gathered under a car port at a residence on Saffron Street in Pinewood Gardens when two men armed with firearms drove up to the home on a scooter.

Three men were shot. One was confirmed dead on the scene while the other two were taken to hospital, where a second man later died.

According to police, the victims of Friday night’s shooting were Deshawn Symonette, 28, and Rashad Bethel, 27.

An area resident said he was at the scene and escaped by crawling to the home’s doorway as bullets flew overhead.

He told The Tribune: “We were playing cards right there and two fellas pull up on a motorbike. (The gunmen) never came in the yard. If they did come in the yard everybody in here would’ve been dead.”

According to the resident, the victim who died at the scene, “was laying down right over there on the chair, and I guess when the gunmen come he probably get up, he thinking he saving (himself) but he run right in the hail of the bullets.

“I hit hard against this wall and I crawled…until I get to the (doorway). You see all these bullets gone through the door? All kind of bullets. I (crawled) towards that gas tank, (and) I say ‘Jesus Christ, I hope no bullet hit that gas tank.’

“I could hear the bullets whisking over me, because I was laying flat on the ground. I all bruise up (from crawling). Everybody was trying to get through the door. I see the door was crowded so I knew I couldn’t make it.

“When I hear the bullets cease, then I get up and I (ran) inside.”

When asked how the incident has affected him, the resident said: “We don’t even want (to) be out here (anymore).

“You know where I sleep? Last night I sleep on the ground. Because I fear they might come and shoot through the glass,” he added.

“I know the police them they say don’t worry about nothing, they patrolling they coming around every half hour. But I still scared, man. Scared.”

The resident has been living in this community since 1986. Asked his opinion on when crime in the area worsened, he said: “To be truthful there’s no crime on this road. Not in Saffron Street. Everybody who you see round here, they (work).

“But we have one or two people who does come from different areas.”

 The resident continued: “I have a strict rule inside this yard. No gun, no drugs. And everybody knows that. So nobody come here with drugs or gun.”

When asked about his relationship with the victim who died at the scene, the resident began to sob.

Through tears, he said: “I even can’t talk about them. The tall fella who get kill there, I trust him with everything. Everything, everything.

“Innocent man. Innocent fella get kill for nothing.”

The uncle of one of the victims reiterated this sentiment. The 55-year-old told The Tribune: “He is not a troublesome person, he is not a member of a gang, he is just like you and I.

“A working man, enjoying a game of dominoes. That’s it.”

He added: “Violence in the Bahamas and violence in these communities, we need to get rid of this violence…this senseless violence.”

Another resident also defended the character of the victims, dismissing newspaper reports that they were involved in drugs.

She said: “It has nothing to do with any drugs. Nobody through Saffron Street deals drugs or is in any way involved in any drug activity. It’s so sad that people lost their lives here. But to see a statement like that is very wrong.”

According to police, the second shooting incident occurred Saturday evening, around 7pm.

Three men along with others were attending a post funeral event on Buttonwood Avenue in Pinewood Gardens when the occupants of a silver coloured Nissan March pulled up and fired shots in the direction of the crowd, injuring them, before speeding off.

The victims were taken to hospital and are listed in stable condition.

A neighbouring shopkeeper told The Tribune how the incident has affected her.

She opened her store on Buttonwood Avenue seven years ago, and moved it “three or four years ago” after a shooting occurred “right outside her store window.”

The shopkeeper revealed she had just returned her store to Buttonwood Avenue “three weeks ago,” only for the area to be marred by another attack.

She said: “I hope (the violence) is nothing that is going to be continuous. Because last couple years it was ongoing, it was always some sort of mix-up with the younger persons. But now it puts me back in (fear).”

A 22-year-old Pinewood resident also spoke to The Tribune. She said: “I do not feel safe in Pinewood. There’s parts of Pinewood I don’t drive in at night, because you never know what will happen. So I stay on the main road.”


John 1 year, 1 month ago

Ever wondered why the detection rate for murder is low? Ever wondered why a large number of persons charged with murder never make it to court? Ever tried to figure what the OpBat helicopter invasion was all about and who and what may have been taken out of this country and to where? Ever wonder the real reason for the increase in police killings and who instructed the shoot to kill order? Ever wonder what is the relationship between the frequent travel advisories and the claims of there being some 56 gangs in the Bahamas? Are there organized drug cartels operating in this country consisting of local Bahmians? WHO IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST DRUG AND WEAPON SMUGGLING OPERATIONS IN THE WORLD AND HAVE BEEN SMUGGLING DRUGS AND WEAPONS FROM THE1950'S AND KILLING PEOPLE, HEADS OF COUNTRIES INCLUDED,AND INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES TO COVER THEIR TRACKS THEN BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OR THE MURDERS/ The Tribune is finally getting around to talking to the young men and finally getting to realize that many of them are innocent. They are just as shocked by what is going on in this country, just as heart broken about losing friends and loved ones and just as afraid of losing their own lives, EVEN IN TH CROSSFIRE.


Aegeaon 1 year, 1 month ago

Again, no one seems to speak about the Bahamas, who allowed the Mexicans and the rest of the drug cartel world to bribe and use drug and weapon smuggling to be the staple of Bahamian life, and no one would be severely punished for murder at all. While the police and Navy is pacified, and the US lied to constantly when they feel actually worried, preventing any actions from taking place. The bloodbath will go on until thousands of gangsters are locked up for the thousands of Bahamians slain by the gangs over the years.


John 1 year, 1 month ago

Aegeaon..with the consistency of your posts bashing young Bahamian men and calling for their demise, it is convincing that you know exactly what is going on in this country and with our young people. Should we forget then,about the native American Indians and how they were almost wipe completely off the earth? Remember the hundreds of movies portraying them as savages and attacking "the white man', because they wanted his scalp? But it was the white man who wanted his land and eventually took all of it? Remember the free blankets that were tainted with chicken pox and other virus that killed out the Indians? dropping them down like flies? Doesn't your comments sound similar. Of maybe you have forgotten the poisoning of the Flint, Michigan water supply? ...... "Aug 29, 2016 - The debacle in Flint, Michigan was a betrayal of the public trust at every level of government. The horror of people drinking poisoned water is a microcosm of the sad deterioration of one of America's greatest accomplishments: the creation of infrastructure to provide virtually universal access to clean water ..." . "Due to 'intentional' insufficient water treatment, over 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water. " Now tell them what really has Trump in panic an wanting to build the wall along Mexico's boarder. Judgment is coming for real...


Aegeaon 1 year, 1 month ago

No, but when those young Bahamian men commit a serious crime, they lose all respect for life and other valuable moral senses. How did we allow nearly 60 gangs to function without the law enforcement lifting a single finger about it. If they cared about our tourism project, the criminals would be controlled effectively and the 52 gangs will get reduced to below 20 of them. There are so many things that we can only deflect blame on, but this is on us,


John 1 year, 1 month ago

President Trump is using the M-13 gang for fear monger omg in the US (just like you are doing with Bahamians). Contrary to what Trump is saying M-13 gang made up of Latinos is a product of the prisons and streets of LA. This is probably the most deadly gang in the world. They are known for their all over body tattoos and their reputation for slitting their rivals’ throats rather than using guns. Unlike other gangs they are known to attack civilians and especially authorities. More than a decade ago the US government rounded up these gang members of the streets of LA and emptied the prisons of gang members and deported them back to their home countries. They wreaked havoc in these countries, most of whom, like The Bahamas, had never experienced gang activity. Many thousands of local citizens were murdered. This gang has grown more deadly and Trump describes them as being more dangerous than Al Quida. The fear now is that because the gang violence has gotten so bad MS-13 gang members are fleeing their countries and sneaking back into the USA. And not just on the streets of LA but they are hiding out in Suburbia America, according to officials, and the fear is that they will eventually strike out. Some say it’s just fear mongering and these gang members are actually running for their lives.


John 1 year, 1 month ago

And BTW this plan is so well devised to turn public opinion against a country or against young people even bloggers are paid full time to post negative blogs against the country or its government or the young people.to sway public opinion . Just review some of the bloggers on here, who claim to be Bahamian even. Spewing nothing but hate and negative comments. Then they change their pen names from time to time or are moved to a different platform to spew their venom.


hrysippus 1 year, 1 month ago

John, didn't you used to post under the name "Jack"?


John 1 year, 1 month ago

The students who survived the school shooting in Florida are taking their case to their law makers in Tallahassee, Florida. They want them to fix the gun laws, one of which Donald Trump just relaxed making it easier for people with mental challenges to own guns. They want more school security and they also want assurances that they will also be safe at home. They also want politicians to denounce and to stop taking money from The national rifle association, who promotes the arming of citizens and lax gun laws. Who is coming to champion the cause of the young people in this country? And in the Caribbean for that matter? To perpetrate the fraud and lie that they are killing each other. How long will these killings continue while these young people are being purposefully steeped in drugs and alcohol and unemployment and poverty. If the cream of the crop is being sifted off and taken to build and strengthen other countries and those that are left are killed or turned into Zombies what does the future hold for this Bahamas?


Aegeaon 1 year, 1 month ago

The thing is.. We're willing to help young people to are willing to fight against crime, but the problem is that there's too few young Bahamian adults left on the islands. Plus the community solution to end these street gangs is ineffective. The gangs will always win over the hearts and minds of the youth who are at a economic disadvantage, because the fame, money and drugs outweigh the risks.


licks2 1 year, 1 month ago

John. . .give us all stats on "WHO" is responsible for the blood bath in this nation? Now don't go back to ranting like you did above without any substantive supporting information. Ya feel me? That cacophonous soup of snippets of history, propaganda, xenophobic regurgitation of your own inter-psychic peeping and other self-generated concerns are not "FACTS" . . . but how you see it!! So back to my original question. . .WHERE YA FACTS MAN?


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