Following a mass shooting in Montell Heights early Sunday morning, Commissioner of Police (COP) Anthony Ferguson yesterday attempted to quell the fears of residents by reassuring them that the incident was isolated.
Ferguson made the comments during a press conference at the Central Detective Unit in order to dispel the “misinformation” circulating on social media about the incident.
“Members of the public, I want you to be very careful of the misinformation that is going around in the country today,” he said.
“…I wish to advise you that you can move about in your normal daily business.
“This is not a situation where persons are going around shooting anybody.
“It is still early in this investigation and as information become available we will release more details.
“Be very careful of persons who claim to have information, and if they do, I urge them to come and see police so that the information can be dealt with.”
Fourteen people ages 10 to 32 were shot shortly after midnight, according to police.
Another three victims sustained injuries during the panic.
Three of the victims suffering from gunshot wounds, two females and one male, were said to be in critical condition.
Police said a man was walking toward the party when two gunmen approached him and fired several shots in his direction, resulting in multiple people being shot.
The targeted man was shot in the leg, police confirmed.
Asked whether, after a bloody weekend, he believes people feel safe, Ferguson said, “I feel safe and I think you feel safe.
“…I think you have to appreciate that persons need to be very aware of the company that you keep. I said that last year and I say it again.
“I cannot tell you who to keep company with but I can only advise you. We’re not going to make any kind of statement that will seek to make families feel uncomfortable, other than the fact to say we want you to be very careful of the company that you keep.”
The police commissioner added, “I’m satisfied that based on the intelligence reaching me, that we have this incident [under control].”
He said the police force will do all it can to make sure it can mitigate any further incidents in that area.
The incident occurred while emergency numbers were out of service.
The Public Hospitals Authority advised that “due to circumstances beyond our control, access to our ambulance services via the telephone numbers 919 and 911 is being impacted by a disruption in telecommunications service”.
Speaking to the matter at the press conference, Ferguson said, “Telecommunication companies [are] man-made and it is expected that those things will fail you. I’m satisfied that there was sufficient response in terms of persons being transported to hospital and I’m satisfied that the medical team at the hospital has done a tremendous job.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications