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Shooting in West Basseterre

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shootingBasseterre, St. Kitts, (Saturday, 2nd June, 2012)-For a while, it seemed like the escalating crime level was about to take a much needed descend, removing from our communities, this menacing gun and violent crime culture that has become a fixture on the social landscape of St. Kitts and Nevis.

However the last two shooting incidents, the one last night, (Friday 1st June) in West Basseterre, and the murder of Dale “Hot Boy” Wattley the night before, in McKnight, (on Thursday 31st May, have again given residents much reason to be concerned.

It started out as a relatively quiet evening in Haynes Smith Village on Friday night, but soon progressed into an open and reckless gun play in an alley in the vicinity of Union Street and St. Johnson Avenue, around 8:30pm and 9:00pm, when residents reported that they heard multiple gun shots in the area.

In a short space of time, as the news spread throughout the Village Community and beyond, crowds began to gather, driven by their curiosity to find out who may have been the latest victim of this ongoing shooting spree of the last 48 hours.

According to some residents who arrived early on the scene three persons were shot in the Union Street area, not too far from the nearby community shop of Damien Weekes, who himself was one of the victims. The others, according to police were Dion Hallowman and Vernon Chumney.

With police, defense force and EMS personnel already on the scene, it proved difficult for the public to get a good handle on what exactly was going on, but it was obvious, even from the early arrival of onlookers, that persons had been shot. One of the victims was actually rushed to the nearby JNF hospital by a resident in private vehicle, but one other individual, after an extended period, was also wheeled out by the EMS and taken for medical treatment. He did not appear to be in a critical condition. It is a comfort though that this victim was apparently not in a serious condition, because the path of the ambulance was blocked by a police van, making it very difficult for the EMS to get a clear turn to the hospital.

And even though the police officer who parked the vehicle there was advised by a former officer, (who is now a fire and rescue safety officer and would be keenly aware), that it might be better to select a different spot because he believed that when the ambulance is ready to leave it would have difficulties manoeuvring the deep corner. For some strange reason however, the stubbornness of the police officer prevailed and he refused to take the advice, and as predicted, his obstinate behaviour did delay the ambulance, as it found great difficulty in making its hasty departure. While all this was occurring, residents shouted to the officer to heed the advice but he refused, even when the ambulance was there trying its best to squeeze its way through.

The third shooting victim is also believed to have gone to the hospital which is less than a one minute drive away, on his own accord.

Many in the crowd expressed concerns over their safety and questioned the false sense of calm that they said they thought they were beginning to enjoy.



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