Six to answer for teacher’s murder
Eight days after primary school teacher Dwight Holder was gunned down while visiting relatives at Bedford Lane, Bush Hall, St Michael, six men are set to face the law courts tomorrow on charges in connection with his death.
The men, ranging from ages 19 to 41 and all from St Michael, were formally charged this evening and will appear at the District A Magistrates Court.
19-year-old Akeem Adrian Gittens of Belleview Gap, Station Hill is the youngest of the accused.
Also charged are Kemal Mario Straker, 20, of Clapham Park; Brandon Damon Joseph, 22, of Beckwith Street, Bridgetown; Ayo Prince Bascombe , 24, of Headleys Land, Bank Hall; Rasheed Jabar Gittens, 28, of Belleview Gap, Station Hill; and Adrian Antonio Watts, 41, of Bank Hall.
During the August 6 shooting, Holder was at a popular liming spot in the community and reportedly attempted to escape through a nearby track in an effort to save his life, but was confronted by more gunmen who pumped multiple bullets into his body,
leaving him lying lifeless next to a galvanized paling.
His cousin Nicholas Weekes and another man John Leach were also shot during the incident. Both were hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Three of the accused are facing additional charges.
Bascombe was also charged with two counts of serious bodily harm, unlawful use of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Joseph will also have to answer to three counts of theft and four counts of robbery, while Straker is facing nine other charges, including three counts of serious bodily harm; two counts of unlawful use of a firearm; violent disorder; endangering life; robbery; and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
An autopsy was performed on Holder’s body yesterday but no details have been released on the findings.
The family of the former Half Moon Fort Primary School teacher has been demanding justice since his death, insisting that Holder was innocent of any wrongdoing and had never been in trouble with the law.
His aunt Yvette Holder told Barbados TODAY that her deceased nephew, a resident of Blackmans Development, St Joseph was accustomed to visiting his family in the area. She said he had just arrived when the shooting occurred and suggested his killing was a case of mistaken identity, with Holder and the two other men in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“We want justice because Dwight is innocent. My quiet, peaceful, innocent nephew gone,” the aunt said.
Holder, a former Combermere student, was looking forward to the birth of his first child, a baby girl, next month.
His pregnant girlfriend and his mother Caroline and are still struggling to accept their loss and have been attending private prayer sessions to help them to cope.
Holder’s death has sparked strong calls for authorities to do more to arrest gun crime.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite expressed grave concern about the upsurge in gun crimes in recent months, after close to a dozen-gun related injuries and one death the previous week.
Brathwaite also announced a 13 per cent increase in overall crime for the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
As he piloted a resolution seeking to borrow $76 million for refurbishing and constructing new accommodation for members of the Royal Barbados Police Force and the magistracy over the next two years, Brathwaite pleaded for the public’s assistance and involvement of all stakeholders to stem the crime scourge.
The Attorney General also revealed that a study into gang violence commissioned by Government had confirmed a rise in the number of gangs linked to drugs operating here.
“We have seen that some of the violence is gang related. We are presently having a gang study done and I am told that we would have the results of that study in two months. What I am being told by the persons who are carrying out the study is that there is little doubt that we do have what seems to be an increased number of gangs,” Brathwaite disclosed.