AN American boat captain was detained by police on Friday after opening fire on officers during a tense stand off on Green Turtle Cay where crime is virtually unheard of.
The captain and another American had sailed into the cay from South Florida on what is understood to be their third or fourth trip bringing rebuilding materials to help with recovery operations from Hurricane Dorian. When the vessel - the Beast of Burden - sailed into the Cay on Thursday evening it was met by two Customs officers and a Customs broker who it is understood had alleged he was owed money by the ship’s captain.
Shortly after the vessel docked a heated argument between the two parties broke out and the police were called. “The American was very irate and started cussing at the police officers,” a local resident told The Tribune.
“For 15 or 20 minutes he told them he was going to start his engines and leave. Apparently there was some alcohol involved which inflamed his temper.
“When he started the engines his friend who was with him got off the boat saying he didn’t want any part of what was happening.
“The police then started yelling at him to turn his engines off. This went on for another 20 minutes with the captain up in the cockpit of the boat.
For some reason when he came out of the cockpit they decided to grab him and subdue him.
“They decided to detain him for the night and figure out what they were going to do with him.”
The American was at this point taken off his vessel and placed in a building nearby.
“At some point between 1am and 2am he managed to get out of the house, ran down to the dock and jumped into the water. The police were quickly there and got some other folks who were moored there who’d come in from Key West to help them search for him in the darkness.
“Next thing we know he’s climbed back on to his boat, run into the cockpit and fired seven shots from his shotgun and of course the police started to run. At this point no one knew what was going on.”
The Tribune understands the police then called in Defence Force officers from Marsh Harbour, six of whom armed with machine guns subsequently arrived at the cay.
“The captain still wouldn’t cooperate and come off the boat so they secured the area and waited.”
Two other vessels arriving from Florida had to anchor offshore as the drama continued.
“At the end they called for another Go Fast boat from the Defence Force and when they arrived and pulled up at the dock he knew they meant business,” said the resident.
“At about 10.30 he knew he was in trouble and came out and surrendered.”
Yesterday a statement from police said: “In respect to the shooting incident which occurred on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco on Friday 22nd May, 2020. Police have arrested one male suspect for the offence of assault with a deadly weapon. There were no injuries during this incident. He is expected to be formally charged within the week.”