By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A PERUVIAN man has been acquitted of killing a disc jockey and attempting to kill another man following a scuffle in a downtown nightclub three years ago.
A Supreme Court jury found Jesus Ramos not guilty by 9-3 of the murder of Jorge Herrera and unanimously acquitted him of the attempt on Hanna Palomino’s life on September 4, 2016.
According to initial police reports, shortly after midnight on September 4, 2016, three men, believed to be Hispanics, were put out of the Tropicana Bar and Grill on Woods Rodgers Wharf after creating a disturbance.
Shortly after 3am, however, one of the men returned to the club armed with a handgun. He then got into an argument with Herrera - the disc jockey - who attempted to disarm him, police alleged. This led to the disc jockey, the armed man and Palomino being shot.
The armed suspect then fled the scene in a Nissan vehicle.
Police later recovered a .40 handgun in the area, believed to be the weapon used in the shooting. Herrera and Palomino were taken to hospital.
The disc jockey died of his injuries six days later on September 10. The other wounded man survived.
During trial before Justice Bernard Turner, Police Corporal 3105 Nelson Miller testified how he, while in possession of a search warrant and operating on information gathered following a shooting at the Tropicana Bar and Grill, led a team of officers to the home of Eduardo Martinez, where they found Ramos, his son, with the wound.
According to PC Miller, shortly after he arrived at the home of Mr Martinez, he indicated his reason for being there and informed the father that his son was believed to be involved in a shooting incident at a nightclub.
PC Miller said he was given access to the home and upon entry, saw a man openly bleeding on a couch in the home – that man was later acknowledged to be Ramos.
PC Miller said his first attempt to communicate with Ramos was unsuccessful because the accused could not comprehend English, and the officer could not speak Spanish.
To bypass the language barrier, PC Miller said he communicated his purpose through both Ramos’ father and the accused’s younger brother who he did not name in court.
The officer said he informed the two that Ramos was suspected of having been involved in a shooting and needed to be taken into custody.
He said he saw Ramos’ father and brother communicate what he had said, in Spanish, to Ramos; adding that the reaction by all three and Ramos’ mother, who was also present, suggested that Ramos fully comprehended what was going on.
PC Miller said upon seeing the state Ramos was in he called for an ambulance.
Ramos was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital where he was treated and later released into police custody.
Meanwhile, in separate testimony, Vandyke Russell, a witness to the aftermath of the scuffle at the nightclub, claimed that in the process of giving aid to a wounded Jorge Herrera, he saw another person being helped away from the scene.
Mr Russell told the court that given the chaotic scene, he was unable to clearly make out whether the person being assisted was a male or female, or the extent of their injury.
He told the court that all he could see was a person, who he believed was a man, being helped into a car.
When asked to give a description of the car, Mr Russell said the car resembled “a matchbox”.
“A dark coloured car. Like one of those matchbox cars. A small Nissan Cube,” he said.
Mr Russell said his full attention was on Jorge Herrera, who indicated there was a problem with his legs and side.
“He was holding his leg…. Saying ‘my leg, my leg, I can’t feel it, can’t feel it.’”
“Then he said, ‘my side, my side,’” Mr Russell told the court. The disc jockey would die from his injuries several days later.
Attorney Shaka Serville represented Ramos.