Officer testifies that Finley was unarmed at time he was shot


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE lawyer for the estate of 15-year-old Gino Evante Finley, Jr, questioned the report of the officer who fatally shot the teen on Prince Charles Drive in 2017. 

He claimed there were discrepancies in the officer’s report. He said while the officer claimed he only shot the teen in the chest, morgue photos showed injuries to the boy’s head.

David Cash, who represented the deceased’s estate, cross-examined Chief Superintendent of Police Tyrell Cox, the chief investigator of the May 23, 2017, shooting at Seagrapes Plaza following a reported armed robbery.

Dennis Sturrup and Denzil Deveaux, both corporals, are the subjects of this inquest. Neither was present during the proceedings.

Supt Cox told Mr Cash that both officers still had their police-issued weapons when he arrived at the scene.

While Supt Cox admitted that he failed to collect these weapons then, he said he eventually collected both weapons. He said they will be tested later in connection with this incident.

He said CSI reportedly collected a Taurus pistol belonging to the deceased.

When Mr Cash grilled Supt Cox as to where Cpl Sturrup shot the deceased, the investigator said he believed the officer reported he shot Finley, Jr. in the chest.

He said Cpl Sturrup never mentioned shooting the deceased in the head.

Mr Cash showed a photo of the deceased in the morgue with an injury to the back of his head.

Supt Cox said that it was possibly a gunshot injury to the back of the deceased’s head and agreed there were injuries to the deceased’s face as well, but did not say they were gunshot-related.

After Supt Cox agreed with Mr Cash that there was no mention of Cpl Sturrup shooting the deceased in the back, the lawyer showed a photo of the deceased at the scene of the shooting.

The photo showed Finlay, Jr, lying face-up with his head in a pool of blood, with blood seemingly draining from an injury near his ear. He is also seen wearing an open white shirt with no visible blood on his chest.

Multiple family members of the deceased became audibly distraught as these photos were shown.

Mr Cash said there were no apparent gunshot wounds to the deceased’s chest despite Cpl Sturrup saying he shot Finley, Jr, at centre mass.

After morgue photos showing injuries to the boy’s back were shown, Supt Cox could not say if there were gunshot injuries to the boy’s back.

The officer was unaware if any bullets at the scene matched the weapon the deceased allegedly used.

However, he agreed that the deceased was unarmed when he was shot, as Cpl Sturrup reported he dropped his gun during the chase.

Meanwhile, a male pharmacist who was at the QVS pharmacy the deceased allegedly robbed, testified that he was on the phone when the incident occurred.

He said he heard the robbery suspect tell patrons to get on the ground, and he sensed that his co-workers were panicking.

He recounted hearing the suspects tell him and his co-workers to put their hands behind their backs so they could be tied. He said a woman co-worker freed him after the suspects fled when police arrived.

He said the experience was traumatic, one he did not want to relive.

When questioned by Mr Cash, the witness said he was unaware whether police took camera footage from QVS.

A female customer testified that she entered the premises during the robbery and noticed it was quiet. She said she was trying to buy candy when two boys in school uniforms, one an RM Bailey student and the other a Government High School pupil, pointed guns at her.

She claimed the one in the RM Bailey uniform –– allegedly Finlay, Jr –– told her this was a robbery and ordered his partner to tie her up.

She said she noticed the second suspect was nervous while trying to tie her hands, so she helped him.

She said police sirens soon caused the suspects to flee.

She was worried about her child during the incident and bawled before the jury, saying she was terrified for her life.

Acting Coroner Kara Turnquest Deveaux is presiding over the case.

K Melvin Munroe represents the officers.

Angelo Whitfield marshalled the evidence.

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