Inquest finds police killing of suspect lawful

| 13/11/2017 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service

Norval Maconia Barrett

(CNS): A Coroners Court jury returned a verdict of lawful killing Friday in the 6 January 2017 shooting death by police of Norval Maconia Barrett (34), who was in Cayman illegally and suspected of involvement in a series of armed robberies. The shooting occurred when police went to a Windsor Park residence with a warrant for Barrett’s arrest for firearms offences. Police had said that the suspect had come out of the house armed with a gun and, despite multiple warnings to drop the weapon, had instead pointed it at officers. In her directions to the jury, coroner Eileen Nervik told the four men and three women they had three options: an open verdict, unlawful killing or lawful killing, which involved self-defence or the defence of another.

The “use of deadly force by officers is prohibited except under certain circumstances”, including if the degree of force met by police constitutes an “immediate threat of grievous bodily harm” to an officer or a third person, she explained to the jury.

In her summing up, Nervik recounted the evidence heard at the inquest, including the statements from the two RCIPS tactical officers involved in the shooting (all together nine police were at the scene). Both of the officers, the only ones who had taken up positions at the back of the house, recounted how they saw Barrett at the back door of the apartment holding a silver gun. The two police officers both announced they were armed officers and Barrett should drop his weapon.

The suspect first pointed his gun at one of the officers. He then aimed at the second officer and started walking towards him as the officer backed away on the rocky ground. The second officer fired a shot at Barrett but he continued to come towards him, so the officer fired again, though he could not recall how many rounds. As he stepped backward he tripped and fell.

The first officer saw his colleague fall down and “had a strong belief he had been shot”. He called for Barrett to drop his weapon or “I will shoot to stop you”, according to the coroner’s summation to the jury.

At that point, Barrett turned toward the first officer and pointed the gun at him again. The officer said he felt “extremely fearful” for his own life and that of the other officer, who was still on the ground. He shot once at Barrett, who stumbled about 60 feet toward the front of the house and fell; a firearm was found within six inches of his arm.

Barrett was attended to at the scene and then taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital (CIH), where he died. Neither officer had been shot.

Based on an independent review undertaken earlier in the year by the Bermuda Police Service, Cayman’s director of public prosecutions ruled that no criminal charges would be filed against the two RCIPS officers, who were then returned to active duty.

During her summation, Nervik also cited evidence from the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, who reported that Barrett had gunshot wounds to his left thigh, left lower leg and a “penetrating gunshot wound”, which was the cause of death, at the back of his neck which entered his spinal cord and lodged in the left side of his tongue, where it was recovered. All five of the spent cartridges from the two officers’ guns were found.

Nervik also noted to the jury that, instead of dropping the gun, “which would have been the wise thing to do”, Barrett continued pointing it at the officers and moving toward one of them, which raised the issue of self-defence. She said that would still apply even if the deceased was shot in the back of the head and neck.

The jury took less than an hour to return the verdict of lawful killing.

Barrett had previously served time in Cayman for an armed robbery that took place in August 2010 at the Esso gas station on Shedden Road. He had been released from jail in August 2016 after serving part of a nine-year term and deported back to Jamaica. Just two weeks before he was killed, police had issued an alert to the public that he was wanted and was considered “armed and dangerous”. It is not known exactly when he illegally returned to the island.

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Category: Courts, Crime, Police

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Every person in RCIPS uniform should be wearing body cams.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Body cams?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some people are so far from living, they many times start as unwanted, no father, no education, no on ever thought they were anything but scum needing to be cleaned up so us decent people would not have to live in fear. They live up to the peer and societies pressure. Guys like this died years ago.

  4. West bay Premier says:

    Jotnar , please don’t lose no sleep over how the scumbag got shot in the back of his neck, unless you are trying to build a case from public opinion because I think that there was more Officers than the one that did testified . Usally when Police go to do those kind of raids they go in a group, not one Officer.

    • Anonymous says:

      The finale scene for this known bandit featured only two officers: with the “second” officer firing 4 rounds (2 finding homes in the victim’s left leg) before being temporarily displaced to the ground, and the “first” able-bodied officer, apparently with the victim’s gun aimed at him, delivering the single fatal shot. Forgiving the macabre science for a moment, how does a bullet traveling at a muzzle velocity of around 370m/s, abruptly circle the victim’s head, pierce the back of the neck and and lodge in the tongue when these two parties are presumably facing down one another?

      • Jotnar says:

        Exactly my point. No issue with bad guys carrying guns getting shot, but when the evidence implies that the police officers are not being honest credibility in the entire system collapses. If he came out of the premises carrying the weapon and got shot 3 times, nothing to say. On this, you have to question the training, efficiency and dare I say it honesty of the police officers involved.

  5. BELONGER says:

    Not only do some Jamaican scum bags in Cayman need killing but we have home grown Caymanians that need the same medicine as well. No different !!

    The MP5 is a sweet gun to shoot, very little recoil and extremely accurate. The first officer must have really “got ambushed and fell backwards” as his MP5 should have taken him out quite easily, not requiring the second officer to do the final job.

    Good Job RCIPS.

  6. OneVoice says:

    No great lost….. one down a few more to go

  7. timuk says:

    The badman culture and slangs in cayman are influenced by Jamaican gangsters just like how a lot of Toronto and london gangsters are influenced by them as well.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get about 10 more of these.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m more concerned about how this ass managed to return to Cayman less than a year of being rightly deported subsequent to serving time for an armed robbery.

    Just more proof that all sorts walk amongst us these days.

    The one institution most crucial to the Cayman Islands is a modern and advanced coast guard. We can divert the seemingly endless source of funds for ever more police in that direction.

    – Who

  10. Anonymous says:

    Any arrest of the landlord of the place he was staying?

    • Anonymous says:

      My concern is the first cop who fired at the suspect and kept missing then tripped and fell…good shooting for the second cop. You don’t move backwards when someone is pointing a gun at you one warning and that is that. This could have been a totally different outcome…shear luck.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yet, thankfully, during this gunfight, the career criminal purportedly didn’t fire a single shot. Do we assume the victim had (a) an unloaded gun, (b) the safety accidentally engaged, (c) no gun at all, and all that would imply, or (d) Officer-assisted suicide.

    • Anonymous says:

      An armed robber didn’t change his ways, what makes you think a cold blooded killer…

    • Anonymous says:

      Should there be? You know something we should know?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Jamaican gangs ruling Cayman. Border Control anyone?

    • Anonymous says:

      If they are ruling Cayman they are sharing the power. They have friends waiting for them here with open arms and sharing in the profit. And I suspect they are Caymanians amongst them. This is not just a Jamaican thing.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would say Good Job, one left criminal off the street one less expense our money has to be spent if sent to northward 🙂 Scum will always be scum till its cleaned.

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. West bay Premier says:

    That should send a message to people who are illegally entering the Islands . The way it should be and a good verdict .

  15. Anonymous says:

    Curious, how did victim get fatally shot from the back of the neck while facing shooter, pointing a gun at them…from a distance? Friendly ricochet?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know, but I’ll bet things happen very fast in situations like that.

      • Jotnar says:

        Speed of events doesn’t explain how the bullet entered from behind whilst he was facing the officers at all times according to the testimony. Not losing any sleep over the scumbag, but the officers explanation does not match the forensics.

    • West bay Premier says:

      Maybe there were guns in front and back of the scumbag , that’s how he got what he needed in the back of his neck .

      • Anonymous says:

        Only two officers attending, though it doesn’t say where or how they were distributed in relation to victim. Important details one would think, seeing as victim was shot three times and fatal wound came from behind.

        • Anonymous says:

          These are the questions that should be asked regardless if the person was a criminal and deserved to die in the public’s opinion. Once again explanations are not adding up and obvious information is missing. There should be nothing to hide here so the public should expect full and detailed and accurate recount of the incident. This just shows the RIPS is in need of further training especially in incident reporting.

  16. Dunz says:

    It looks as if he wanted to die but not at his own hands.

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