As Acting Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander addressed three police-involved shootings that took place in the past week, he warned the public not to engage the police.
“I believe it’s justifiable,” said Fernander in relation to the recent incidents.
“The police, first of all, he has to try and protect himself and, then, he has to protect the good people out there.
“These things are happening in the community and anybody, the bullet don’t have no eye, you know.
“Anybody who is in the area could end up getting shot. These things are happening right in our communities and officers have to protect themselves.
“If a fellow comes at you with a weapon and he’s shooting at you, you have no other choice but to return fire to protect yourself and people who may be in proximity of the incident.”
Police reported that officers shot and killed a man on Antigua Street, New Providence, on Thursday, after he fired at officers who had been following him in response to a complaint.
Another incident took place on Sunday morning as police responded to two armed robberies.
Officers responding to the calls chased suspects into Kennedy Subdivision, police said.
According to police, three suspects exited their vehicle, two of whom were armed and fired at police. Officers returned fire and one of the suspects was shot, but survived.
Fernander said a weapon was recovered and two of the suspects were arrested, while the third escaped.
The latest incident took place early Monday morning in eastern New Providence.
Fernander said an operation was underway to address a string of break-ins in the area.
“Our officers from the eastern division came together and put a strategy in place with a view of trying to apprehend the persons responsible,” he said.
“Last night, there was an operation put in place. While there at a residence in the east, an individual came there, entered the property and attempted to get into a residence. Officers approached, there was a struggle and the culprit was armed with a crowbar.
“There was a struggle and the individual attempted to take the weapon from the officer and he was shot. He died on the scene.”
According to statistics previously released by Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle, there were 20 police-involved shootings in 2021, which resulted in 11 deaths.
At a press conference yesterday morning, Fernander said officers must “do what we have to do” to protect their lives and those of others.
“You can see that the culprits, they are very bold and they will go to the very end in not only trying to harm the officers but to get away,” he said.
“… They are shooting at the police cars as they pass. So, we will find that these things happen. They will confront us, but our officers are trained and we pray to God that He continues to protect us as we pursue these individuals.
“So, these fellows have no respect for themselves, so what do you think about me and you?
“So, we always have to be in that ready position to do what we have to do to ensure that we protect not only our lives but good citizens out there who continue to move about.”
While he noted he wants to “stay in his lane”, Fernander said matters are not moving quickly enough in the Coroner’s Court.
“I’m not happy,” he said.
“I know they are trying to do some restructuring and all of that with the court … I know they have their challenges and I don’t know what it is, but they are not moving as I feel it should be moving.”
He added, “Obviously, there are a number of outstanding matters that are before the court.
“You hear even families of victims speaking out and all of that. So, it’s clear that the matters are not moving as swiftly as they should. Now, what’s creating that monster? I can’t say.”