Gang tensions behind football stadium shooting

| 26/02/2024 | 123 Comments
Police Commissioner Kurt Walton at Monday’s press conference

(CNS): Police are working on the theory that heightened gang tensions are behind the shocking but targeted shooting last night at the Ed Bush football field in West Bay, where seven people were hit. Two George Town gangs are believed to have joined up with one of two long-standing gangs in West Bay in a battle against the rival West Bay gang.

However, Police Commissioner Kurt Walton said today that the police had no expectations that the recent spike in gang tensions would spill over into such a public place because, until now, shootings had been contained to known gang areas.

Speaking at a press conference Monday afternoon, Walton updated members of the media on the state of the investigation into the shooting. The current investigative hypothesis is that there was just one gunman who had made his way to the football ground through an adjacent piece of open land that backs up towards the Birch Tree Hill area of West Bay. But Walton said he may have been assisted by others to get away.

The shooter then opened fire, with “no regard for human life”, on a group of 20 to 25 people standing on the edge of the northeast corner pitch, close to the changing rooms, watching the game, Walton said. The gunman used a 9mm semi-automatic, and police believe he was aiming at at least two men, who were the intended targets.

Walton said that police officers had recovered multiple shell casings from the edge of the pasture where the shooter was firing from but did not say how many shots were fired. The police understand that there are CCTV cameras at the stadium, but they have yet to confirm if the system was operational and exactly what has been caught on camera, he said.

Three of the seven people who were shot remain in hospital, suffering from serious wounds; at least one was shot multiple times. However, the other four were not seriously injured and have since been discharged from the George Town Hospital.

There may have been as many as 300 people at the premier league match when the shooting occurred, and police are appealing for witnesses to come forward. The RCIPS has opened a major incident room and has specific lines of inquiry, but Walton said no one had been arrested at the time of the press conference. Additional firearms response teams will be deployed on the streets.

It was also announced a $250,000 reward — $200,000 from the government and $50,000 from Cayman CrimeStoppers — for information leading to a successful conviction in what everyone is describing as a shocking incident of gun violence.

“This truly was an unprecedented occurrence… It’s never happened before where we have an incidence of this magnitude at such a public event,” Walton said. Although seven people were shot, he said that things could have been far worse, given the indiscriminate firing by the gunman.

He also revealed some insight into the current understanding the RCIPS has of the existing gang tensions and changing profiles. He explained that four gangs are known to the police — two from George Town and two from West Bay — but three of them have merged and are working together against one of the West Bay gangs. The police estimate that this larger gang is now made up of around forty people.

Several Cayman Islands Football Association executives are currently overseas travelling with the national squad, but CIFA has temporarily suspended local games.

See the full press conference here.


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Category: Crime, Police

Comments (123)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Coolio said it best.

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  2. Junior says:

    It was horrible watching this press briefing to be honest.
    No clue. Squirming trying to play down the area of shooting away from the stands etc. weak and directionless

  3. Kadafe says:

    This briefing was an embarrassing waste of time. The only useful info that came out of this was the increase of the reward for information. All of them spoke spewing obvious things which they should be doing anyway, with no plan of action set out. Commissioner was tripping all over himself, likely due to a lack of information for their working hypothesis.

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  4. Kadafe says:

    Allow the people to defend themselves! Our legal system lets off persons who have committed violent crimes way too easily. Criminals would definitely think twice in committing robberies if they knew citizens were armed!

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    • Enn Array says:

      Yes! The United States experience shows that easy access to guns results in very low rates of gun crimes and gun deaths.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Arm the people! What could possibly go wrong?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Half our population can’t be trusted with safely using a Honda Fit. Now we’re going to let them buy Glocks and AR15s! Dear god.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So when the criminals are the only with guns, where does that put the public safety? Now please don’t tell me the gun ban in the Cayman is working, obviously it’s not.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but I know first hand how dumb some police officers are, they clearly have learning disabilities that were never assessed.

    Learning disabilities could be addressed if caught early. Even adults could benefit from the individually designed programs. I believe that Cayman has teachers trained and certified by the Arrowsmith school, Toronto. Every person who is applying for RCIPS job must have an assessment by the learning disability specialists.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not learning disabilities, it’s a plain lack of schooling.
      Come from Jamaica, get a job, put on a uniform….you’re still an uneducated Jamaican.

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  6. Elvis says:

    No kidding Sherlock

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Everything was going according to plan. Byrne did his part in collaboration with that fine body of yes men the Police Service Commission and over promoted 5 senior officers who we were told were the future and outstanding cops. He then put the cherry on top and delivered a Caymanian Commissioner. What could possibly go wrong. The public are now staring at this group seeking swift action and reassurance. The silence is deafening.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    A fitting end to Black History Month

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  9. Anonymous says:

    From the video, the shots sound more like an assault rifle on rapid fire, not a 9mm pistol.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4 known gangs? What world are they living in? How is anyone shocked about this? It was coming, crime is at an all time high, rapes, kidnappings, shootings, killings. It was only a matter of time this happened. Instead of being proactive 10 years ago, we were in denial, remember “we don’t have gangs”…

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      • Anonymous says:

        Small correction, 40years ago. We are dealing with a second generation gang culture.
        Gangs have been mapped, members have been identified, but we don’t have the political will to clean this up.

        Politicians do NOT care, crime is a welcome distraction from the real problems.

        People, this is just the beginning and further escalation is to be expected. It can not be stopped anymore.

        And as long we have a naïve, gullible, christian fundamentalist population, nothing will change.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Zero gangs. Truman said so.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can give you a heads up of where this leads to, you will have more gangs, more gun violence and much more crime. Why? Because the CIG won’t take this seriously and they don’t want to fill their jails with the gangs. I remember 35 years ago when gangs started popping up in Aurora CO, the government said there was no such thing, now they just let them go there is so many of them. Better look around at some of the other island Countries and see how gangs are disrupting citizens paradise. Good luck Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There can’t be many more loser that want this life style left here. Has to be the worst ratio of criminal to non criminal people in a community in the world.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Its been over a week and you still can’t ascertain if the cctv cameras are even working? Do we need to revisit that again? A bid for how many millions of dollars, awarded to a certain security company and the cameras don’t work more than they do work..

  11. Anonymous says:

    , until now, shootings had been contained to known gang areas…..

    Right Kurt. Like Seven Mile shops where Justin Manderson was gunned down. Like Vics Bar where someone opened up on full auto into the bar and hit a number of bystanders. Like Next Level where someone standing next to the target got hit as well.

    Quite apart from the fact that this smacks of a “ as long as they kill each other its ok” mentality, its simply not true. These guys will shoot at each other where ever they are, irrespective of the potebtial for others to get hurt, and you know that. Stop trying to excuse the fact that RCIPS seems fundamentally unable to stamp out gang gun crime, even though it consistently says it knows who the bad guys are. You are no different from the non Caymanian COPs before you – even have the same tired excuses despite a budget that would gag a goat and more officers per capita and resources than most police sevcied worldwide.

    For gods sake bring in a specialist unit from the UK or US that knows what its doing and has no comfy relationships with some of the bad actors a s try actually protecting the public.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Section 231(1)(a) of our Penal Code states –
    A person who —
    (a) is a member of a gang; …
    commits an offence and is liable to a fine of five hundred thousand dollars and
    to imprisonment for twenty years.

    Why is that not being enforced?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    This should be considered domestic terrorism and the shooter plus anyone who helped him or is connected to that firearm should go away for life

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  14. Caymanian parent says:

    I have read all the comments and I think only two have mentioned education, and the lack of it, as being a root cause of the gang violence.

    Please can more people shake themselves off and wake up to the fact that for too many years Caymanians have not valued their children’s education. Do they not realise that it is the ladder that lifts people out of poverty and feelings of inadequacy?

    The Education Law says that all children must be in full time education by the age of 5, but what the Department of Education and Ministry of Education fails to tell parents is that if you do not start your child in primary school by September 1st in the year that they are four, turning five during that school year, then they will go straight into Year 1, missing the crucial Reception year when children are taught the foundational literacy and Maths skills! Then in Year 1 they are in a class of at least 28 children, many of whom are already reading, and if the child is not being heavily supported by their parents, could well slip behind. By Year 2 they are still not able to read, they realise they have little chance of catching up, their self-esteem takes a nose dive, and they look for other ways – often acting out – to get attention.

    It could all be so different! I am praying to the Lord that many on this island love – please intervene and may every Caymanian and expat parent, learn to truly value your children’s education!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Suck it up, everyone got what Roy Bodden wanted, Caribbeanisation.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There you go Roy.
        We used to be a Proud Island in the Caribbean.
        Now we’re just another Caribbean Island.
        Caribbeanisation enough for you.?

    • Anonymous says:

      Things can be taught, but one has to want to learn them.

      When I was growing up I had a passion for learning. I had hard time understanding physics, so I was taking a lots of books from the library that were teaching kids physics in a more entertaining way. Have to admit that part of the problem was our teacher. Chemistry, organic and inorganic is a more complex and difficult subject, yet I had no problem with it, thanks to the excellent chemistry teacher.

    • Anonymous says:

      Public education in Cayman is a joke.
      Nothing but a sunday school where children have to pray 3 times a day for a god that doesn’t exist.
      Kids can’t read or do math, but they can tell you about the animals on the arc of noah.
      A meeting with staff concerning your child, always starts with a prayer, it is pathetic.

      Your last line shows to me that you arepart of the problem and not the solution. You clearly are a victi of our public education system.

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      • Anonymous says:

        …As one prominent Cayman Islands lawyer once said (paraphrasing here):

        The children come out of (public) schools better prepared for the next life, than the current one.

    • Anonymous says:

      public schools are nothing more then sunday schools.
      kids learn nothing.

  15. Extremely worried about the power these gangs have! says:

    So when you catch them, you will give them a jury trial again and let them walk free? Look at two very recent cases where gun crime or gun possession was committed… the juries are either bias or afraid for their life and let them go. These crimes cannot be tried by a jury or they will walk free again and you know it! History, common sense or even just the comments on previous acquittals will prove this. You could have several people and guns off the streets by now…

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  16. Anonymous says:

    RCIPS, can we please have a map of these designated gang areas where crime is apparently tolerated.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Does RCIPS have Emergency Response Plan? What EMERGENCY POWERS LAW says?
    An Active shooter was and is at large. Was public notified and advised to go into a lockdown?

    The actions taken in the initial minutes of an emergency are critical.

    For the US police It would have taken few hours, RIGHT AFTER THE shooting, to find and disarm if not all but most gangsters.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Affilated with a gang? Round them up and give them 2 years no questions asked. Maybe some better choices will be made.
    Selfish, daft twits are holding us hostage.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Arrest gang members again and again and again. Make their lives miserable. Every time they leave the house, harass them, embarass them, waste their time. You know who they are, you know what they drive, you know where they live. Get on it. I fear this CoP and governor are a waste of space. “Known gang areas” sounds like they have given up.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    “Kurt Walton said today that the police had no expectations that the recent spike in gang tensions would spill over into such a public place because, until now, shootings had been contained to known gang areas.” – Absolutely pathetic. This man clearly not the right man for the job. “Gang areas”??? Really!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Aren’t they? These losers operate, live and hide behind their enabling family and friends in know areas. Alway have

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Another total RCIPS failure

    Emergency powers should have been activated right after the shooting and the entire police force called for a duty until the perpetrator and other gangsters are found and disarmed. This is not Detroit.

    They know there are gangs, they know how many people are in these gangs,,they know the areas. RCIPS all 385 of them should have “brushed with a comb” every residence every area where the gangsters live and move.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Governments, Politicians, Courts, Laws and even
      families are all accountable. All these are
      now screaming out with the let’s work together blah blah, they all allowed this to happen while they do nothing but sit on their ‘a****’, go on their trips, self promoting, assaulting people, sitting at coffee shops shouting and complaining and on and on. They are all a disgrace!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, is Ed Bush now a designated gang area, or is it where I take my kids to play and watch soccer? Is there not a public park and playground across the street? When did the RCIPS surrender this area to criminals? Where is the map for that? What is the cost of these headlines around the world? How many years will it take to shake it? How many hundreds of millions in property devaluation overnight? Tired of hearing the same excuses for decades from this dysfunctional self-congratulatory police farce with a budget similar to a small NATO member country. We paid for a service they can’t deliver, and still have to pay for it again. “It could have been far worse” – is that supposed to make the public and would be tourists feel better? Unacceptable.

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  23. Island Time says:

    This is what happens when you have over 400 RCIPs and you can’t even enforce the simplest of traffic laws. I know most people will say how does this relate to Gun Violence. It really is simple. When you can’t even enforce a traffic law you certainly cannot enforce gang violence.

    Let’s start with Blacked out windows. If you can’t see what’s going on inside, then you can’t enforce the law. Let alone it impedes the driver’s vision. Not sure about Cayman but I know everywhere in North America tinted Front windows whether its side or windshield are illegal. This is enforced strictly for the reasons I mentioned. Simple traffic stops for speeding, no turn signals etc. This allows the police to look inside as well as ensure Drivers License vehicle registration are all current. I know people in police forces in North America will you the simplest of traffic stops to check people out.

    I would have to say in my opinion there are not enough expat RCIP’s. I have witnessed people being let off tickets because of their nationality. I certainly am not picking on Caymanians It’s hard to hand out a ticket when everyone is related in a small community. I don’t care what oath you take.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean there aren’t enough expat cops? They are literally referred to as JDF nowadays.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Are Jamaicans ex-pats..?

        • Island time says:

          I don’t see them as expats. They are also related to half the island. Regardless 2 RCIPs to every vehicle. What a joke do they need to hold each other hand. Needless to say the Bright Blue light on the top of the roof certainly doesn’t give them away. You can see them coming for blocks. Their reasoning is awareness. Mine is yes awareness here comes the RCIPs put your gun away.

  24. Anonymous says:

    We need anti gang legislation that lets us lock up ALL these gang members and send them to the prison system in the UK for good!

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    • Anonymous says:

      This! Make gang membership a criminal conspiracy subject to 15 years. Get rid of them all.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We need to stop expecting the U.K. to solve our crime. Yes we a British Overseas Territory but our police force should have the wherewithal to get a handle on this. Obviously we need assistance but the local force should have the data and the surveillance to keep ahead of these calamities. Perhaps the police need more training as well. Until the populace become more invested in helping to stamp out crime by alerting the police of “things they overhear and see” these things will go on. We also need a more diverse police force because as the saying goes “familiarity breeds contempt. We cannot rest until this little 2×4 Rock returns to the peaceful safe place it once was. “If you know something say something” This is everybod’s business.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Send them to prison in Jamaica which used to be the biggest deterrent our criminals ever faced.
      Northward is no more than a resort with three meals a day.

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    • Anonymous says:

      UK doesn’t want them!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    “Police Commissioner Kurt Walton said today that the police had no expectations that the recent spike in gang tensions would spill over into such a public place…”
    Until it does.

    In other words:”Police Commissioner Kurt Walton said today that the police had no clue.”

    How could one not expect that homicidal maniacs would not become a threat to the general public? That is breathtakingly irresponsible!

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  26. Anon says:

    If it was operational? Why are these things not maintained constantly? This is what we are expecting from the government, safe places and constant maintenance of all aspects of that.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    3rd world immigration. 3rd world education. 3rd world ministers. 3rd world police force. 3rd world results. Is anyone actually surprised? Stop voting for uneducated criminals and thugs. There are more than enough decent, intelligent and honest Caymanians who could run this place. Enough is enough. The criminals, thugs and halfwits need to go.

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    • Island Time says:

      You have no choice but vote for them. Again all related doesn’t matter who gets in power. There are people on this island that would and should run and yes they are Caymanian. Unfortunately you can’t get around the old boy’s club. Even if one or 2 of them get in power they are a fish swimming up stream.

      Same thing happened with the expat RCIP’s that left the island. I know 2 of them. They both said they were fish swimming upstream. Th3e harassment within the force they decided it wasn’t worth staying.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s work on cleaning the slate for 2025. Their are a few who can stand their ground and understands the ramifications of dragging feet.
      There is no duplication in the above.

  28. Anonymous says:

    FCO, perhaps it’s time for an early recall of the accountant Governor, and send us our MI5 friend and regular visitor based in Miami, as Governor.

    You know who I mean!!

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  29. Anonymous says:

    My heart hurts as a young Caymanian.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    I watched the press briefing and wanted to say kudos to Wendy for pushing for more questions. Nothing screams democracy like limiting the number of questions journalists can ask at a press briefing that covers community safety… Not to mention that, to the best of my knowledge, this is UPM’s first press conference.

    Praying for safety for everyone home.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Tell us Kurt. Although the majority of criminals are probably Caymanians – when you do detect an expat’s involvement in any crime, at what stage to you formally inform WORC?

    And who checks to tell you whether a criminal is or is not Caymanian in the first place?

    Why do we see so few requests of recommended deportation on conclusion of sentence? Why do we have so many foreign criminals here?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cause Caymanians keep marrying and procreating with the criminals.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So? No need for the spouse or foreign issue to be allowed in or to remain. Marriage doesn’t allow you to live here. It allows you to apply to live here. BIG difference.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    When will the RCIPS and the DPP’s office go after the gangs???
    The RCIPS now routinely says that the gun crime in our neighbourhoods is gang related. With this incident the RCIPS indicated that the police know that something like 50-60 gang members are responsible for this and most other incidence of gun crime in our neighbourhoods.

    Gang membership is a crime in Cayman. We have had anti-gang provisions in our Penal Code for many years, but to my knowledge the RCIPS and our prosecution service have never arrested, charged or prosecuted anyone for being a gang member. So why are these gang members still on the street?
    If our anti-gang legislation is unworkable then it needs to be fixed NOW, in this sitting of Parliament. If our current anti-gang legislation works but is not being used, then people at the top needs to be fired and replaced by people not afraid or otherwise unwilling to go after the gangs.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Gov’t should make the reward 1 million. I think even the most loyal gang member would think about giving up their counterpart for that kind of money and relocate. 250k can’t even get you a nice 1 bedroom in todays economy.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    From 3 weeks ago, – what do you supposed to say ?

    “In response to these increased tensions and recent shooting incidents, including the murder on 21 January, the RCIPS Senior Command Team met [Friday] morning to develop a coordinated response focused on disrupting the activities of those persons involved, preventing further incidents from occurring, and arresting and prosecuting those who commit these crimes,” Walton said.

    “This will involve targeted police operations, along with increased armed patrols. I want to reassure the public that we remain committed to ensuring the safety of everyone on these islands and are working to rapidly contain the situation.”

    https://caymannewsservice.com/2024/01/death-or-jail-awaits-gangsters-warns-cop-walton/

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Gangs exist because why?

    Typically, to sell drugs and run prostitutes.

    If you know they are dealing, arrest them.

    I believe the police know the suppliers of drugs. Shut them down and arrest them.

    Zero tolerance for “gangs” in the Cayman Islands.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    Until now shootings have been confined to known gang areas , you better get your memory checked Mr Walton just last year a young man was shot in a public place what about the fatal shooting inside the next level nightclub the fatal shooting at hell gas station and the hospital, it’s been many more but I will stop here, and by the way the pasture next to the playing field is right on birth tree hill gang turf just a few steps away

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Call to the Motherland and bring in the SAS to exterminate these oxygen thieves. Let’s see if Cayman gives up it’s ‘sons’ with this one. Women and children there and some lowlife just opens fire.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Ghetto primitive turds
    Only positive element is this may be the moment that government takes this seriously and resources go aggressively in squashing gang violence instead of building more condo developments in Cayman. Look at how well El Salvador is ending crime in their country as a blueprint

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  39. Anonymous says:

    Gangs thrive where there’s poor educational attainment. Ergo, we’re screwed.

    The irony here is that the current premier will have been in charge of education for many of these gang members’ ‘education’.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, in charge of an education system with the highest spend per pupil of anywhere on the planet (bar Lux). 200 Hundred million dollars a year… squandered.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    an incident that sums pretty much everything wrong with cayman:
    gangster culture spreading out of control
    no fear or respect for police
    policing generally ineffective and incompetent
    aloof out of touch government ran by poorly educated locals only interested in getting a fat pay-check.
    a governor who appears only to be here for a retirement jolly
    huge expat community, who run the island, dumfounded by the incompetence of cig/rcips
    best and brightest in society prevented from running for office
    welcome to wonderland.

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  41. Anonymous says:

    useless with a capital U….
    only cig can hold a press briefing that leaves you with more questions than you had before it began…..zzzzzzzz
    welcome to wonderland.

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  42. Anonymous says:

    It behooves me to behoove the beehoover before he behooves.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Tupac and Biggie.

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  44. Anonymous says:

    Joining a gang in not good for your health.

  45. Anon says:

    Let’s hope in the future no one tries to one-up this shooter.

    If we’re going to have crime let’s keep it petty – bad fights, the occasionally burglary, not this heavy traumatizing stuff.

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  46. Anonymous says:

    The time to act on all the lawlessness was years ago. Now it’s boiling over they want to do something…

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  47. Anonymous says:

    Translation – the police have no clue, just a theory

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  48. Anonymous says:

    pass laws today to make such indiscriminate shootings unthinkable. Domestic terrorism laws making this a minimum sentence of life in prison solitary confinement. gangs gonna gang, but if they know that such disregard for innocent bystanders holds a harsh minimum sentence maybe they will be more specific and target only gamg members ridding us all of their existence.

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  49. Anonymous says:

    only the police did not know what was going down all the signs were there for them to see but alas the demographic situation in the RCIPS is only in touch with their own kind not too worried about the ever shrinking minority..Sad Sad state of affairs .Some posters for the past few weeks .

  50. Anonymous says:

    So, gang membership/association is a crime. You know of 40 members. How many have been arrested for gang membership/ association? Ever?

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