New murder record
Two weekend killings have pushed the murder rate to an all-time high.
Two men were gunned down in separate incidents over the weekend, marking the third homicide record recorded in the last four years. The previous records were set in 2007 (78 murders) and 2009 (87 homicides). There have been 88 homicides so far this year, a number which could increase as December is historically one of the deadliest months.
The latest murder took place on Saturday around 7 p.m. at Wood’s Alley, off Market Street.
“It is reported that the deceased along with another male were in front of a residence at Wood’s Alley when they were approached by a burgundy four-door Nissan vehicle,”police press liaison officer Sergeant Chrislyn Skippings reported yesterday.
“It is further reported that a male armed with a firearm exited the rear passenger door and fired gunshots in the direction of both males, which resulted in both males receiving gun shot injuries.”
The 22-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene while the 32-year-old was taken to the hospital. He is said to be listed in critical condition.
The victim was identified as Theodore Berry Jr., also known as”Big Teeth”.
Sergeant Skippings added that shortly after the shooting, police received information of a vehicle fire at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, on Tyler Street. When fire services responded and extinguished the fire, they learned that the car is a burgundy Nissan, Skippings said. Police believe the vehicle is connected to the shooting at Wood’s Alley.
Initial police reports indicate that the first homicide of the weekend took place around 10 p.m. on Friday at Nassau Street and Deans Lane.
“Police responded and information received was that the deceased was at his residence when he was approached by three males, one of whom was armed with a handgun,” Skippings said. “It is reported that the culprits called out to the deceased and while the deceased answered the door he was shot to the head.”
The 22-year-old, who was not identified yesterday, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are continuing to investigate both matters.
Homicide lead detective Assistant Superintendent of Police BK Bonamy said police are following significant leads in both matters.
He said police are asking persons with information on the killing to contact them.
Bonamy added that the police are working feverishly to get all murderers off the streets.
The results of a Nassau Guardian web poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated they do not believe the government is doing enough about crime.
Out of the 948 responses, 81 people believe the government is doing enough, 818 responded negatively and 49 are undecided.
The government has attempted, in terms of personnel changes and infrastructure investments, to address the crime problem, which has worsened in recent years.
Since the Free National Movement (FNM) came to office in 2007, there have been three commissioners of police; three attorneys general; two chief justices; and two directors of the Department of Public Prosecutions.
It was last year this same time when Prime Minister Hubert ingraham pledged to initiate new crime fighting measures to fend off the rising tide of crime.
At the time, Ingraham said that if the fight is to be successful, the government cannot simply rely on the newest technologies and equipment.
“We must engage the hearts and minds, the consciences and will power of all Bahamians as we transform those mindsets which often lead to violence as a means of settling differences, or taking what is not ours whether from our places of employment or elsewhere,” he said.
Ingraham said the government’s response also includes providing all relevant crime-fighting and prosecution agencies with the leadership, manpower, conditions of service tools, technology and powers needed to combat crime and violence.
Additionally, Ingraham announced that the government is providing the judiciary with the resources to engage judges and improve its facilities and other resources needed to”ensure that our criminal justice system is able to conduct more timely but fair trials so that crime victims and their families, as well as accused persons, are afforded a greater degree of justice.”
He said the government will use “all possible means, within the law, including changes to legislation, some of which have already been enacted, and others that will be presented in due course.”
“My government will not condone mindsets and actions that want to dispense with the law when it is convenient, but at the same time seek to impose that very same law on the criminal behavior we are seeking to punish,”Ingraham continued.
Since then, the government has provided the police force with a new fleet of vehicles and it is spending more than$20 million upgrading the court system.
The new Magistrates’ Court complex at Nassau Street is expected to be complete by early next year.
Earlier this month, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest announced that an electronic monitoring system would be implemented before the end of the year.
He said the system “is an important element of the government’s strategy to halt and reverse crime trends in The Bahamas, to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and to enhance public safety and security.”