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Under fire

by Donna Sealy

A feud between two factions in the heart of two well known Bridgetown communities has worsened, with three young men now nursing gun shot injuries and police detectives hunting the perpetrators.

And while the head of the Criminal Investigations Department is warning those involved that they will be brought to justice, City MP Patrick Todd is urging his constituents not to panic.

Barbados TODAY has learnt that the “war” started about six weeks ago after a domestic incident in which a man intervened and it has triggered a rash of shootings between groups from the adjacent districts of Chapman Lane and New Orleans.

Two weeks ago three men were shot in Wharton Gap and Mason Hall Street, and today around 12:30 this afternoon at 7th Avenue New Orleans, Terrek Howard, 17, Tyson Lovell 26, and 21 year-old Lamar Hewitt were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after receiving various injuries about their bodies.

It is understood that Passage Road resident Lovell was shot in the back. He remains in critical condition. Howard who lives nearby in Passage Gardens was shot in his left hand and Hewitt who lives in the 7th Avenue in his left leg. Both are stable. Additionally, there were also other reports of shots being fired around midnight last night in 7th Avenue.

Today, amid growing fears from some New Orleans residents, CID head, Superintendent Livingstone Eversley, said he was “not aware” there was an ongoing dispute, but confirmed the shooting incidents, including today’s.

“There are two incidents we would have had where there was shooting in the area and we have charged persons, who went before the court with the first incident.

“We have increased our patrols; in cases of crime we’re always concerned and where you find there are cases of shooting … these are things the force is very concerned about. You can look and see that innocent persons can be hurt and the damage and trauma it causes people,” he said.

The spate of shootings has caused mixed reactions among residents of the densely populated district.

Those residents who requested anonymity said that they were worried and did not allow their children to stay outside longer than necessary since the shooting took place at any time throughout the Orleans and they did not want to risk getting injured in the cross fire.

They also said they went about their business, returned home, only venturing outside again when it was time to go to work or take their children to school.

For other residents gunshots piercing the air were becoming more common and while not immune they did not cower in fear.

One resident, who gave his name as Shawn, told Barbados TODAY that if the police paid more attention to the 6th and 7th Avenues where men usually “congregate, sell drugs and play loud music Saturday nights right through till Sunday morning”, the lawless behaviour would be curbed.

Eversley’s response to this charge was: “If the police is aware and if they go to an area and see people congregating and selling drugs we would respond and we do respond to these situations. Sometimes you would go and residents would say one thing to you and another one to us. Even today, we were there and a lot of residents were tight-lipped, we do get cooperation from some but then others don’t.”

A concerned Todd is appealing to the residents of the City specifically and Barbadians in general to stay calm and let the police do their jobs.

“I would urge persons not to panic, there is no need to panic,” he told Barbados TODAY via telephone.

“I call on the people of Barbados to desist from violent behaviour. I would advise persons not to take the law into their own hands, but to seek the assistance of the law enforcement agencies to address any concerns they have because we want to ensure that all Barbadians, including innocent bystanders, can walk freely throughout the length and breadth of our country without of fear of being caught in any violence between various groups,”

“I am confident that common sense will prevail and that we can return to normalcy as a matter of urgency. I am very confident that Barbadians as a people are peaceful law abiding citizens, who respect the rights of our fellow Barbadians,” Todd stated.

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