9 different guns used in 2021 crime spree, says CoP

| 19/07/2021
Cayman News Service
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne appeared before Finance Committee on Monday

(CNS): Nine different Illegal guns have been at the centre of the violent crime so far this year, including two high-powered automatic weapons used in the recent murders. Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne has said the majority of the guns being used in crime that police are aware of are 9mm handguns. He said they believe some of the guns have been on island for some time and were smuggled here in domestic appliances and furniture.

Appearing before Finance Committee on Monday, he also stated that while the RCIPS is making progress on the investigations of the recent killings, they were still having trouble converting intelligence into evidence.

Lawmakers met Monday morning to address the need to regularize the additional spending and movement of money under the last administration that had not be properly appropriated. As members of Parliament agreed to cover additional spending by the police for COVID-related overtime and other expenses to the tune of more than CI$1.7 million, Byrne was questioned by the member for West BayWest, about the current gun violence, after House Speaker McKeeva Bush had revealed that he had not attended the recent briefing of MPs by police management.

Byrne told the members that the police were working with the Customs and Border Control unit to address the importation of guns, and also spoke about what police believe is behind the excessive gun violence over the last month. However, the commissioner painted a broad picture of what could be motivating the offenders.

He said the trouble is between “three disparate groups of young men in George Town and West Bay”. He said there is a gang element as well and while it is predominantly men, there are some young women involved who are facilitating the logistics for the criminality. Byrne said there were multiple factors behind the crime and he was not able to specifically state what had triggered this latest spate of serious gun violence, saying that even the smallest of conflicts could trigger it.

But he added that it involved “territory, hierarchy, drugs, guns” and other conflicts over a “wide mix of issues”. The commissioner said the RCIPS was picking up information, “but the difficulty is converting it to evidence”.

There was no further news Monday afternoon regarding the two men currently in custody relating to the murder at Vic’s Bar. One has been held for four days, the other for three, but neither has yet been charged with killing Wayne McLean, the victim who died at the scene, or any other offences relating to the guns used or the five other victims who were shot.

A 35-year-old George Town man has been charged with possession of an illegal gun in relation to the murder in Martin Drive that occurred a week before the Vic’s Bar mass shooting on 1 July. That suspect has not been charged with killing either Mark Andre Ebanks, who died at the scene, or Eldon Charles Walton, who died suddenly on Friday in hospital, where he was being treated for the injuries he has sustained. He has, however, been arrested for attempted murder in connection to a home invasion in West Bay on Adonis Drive last month.

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Category: Crime, Police

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