PANIC IN TOWN AS GUNMEN STRIKE FEAR

Police are on the hunt for a man described as the main suspect in last Friday’s shoot-out in the heart of the city as rival gangs clashed with each other.

Hundreds of persons doing business in the island’s main shopping centre had to scurry to safety as blazing guns took over the town for several minutes.

A number of Vendors at the St. George’s Market Square were seen picking up their goods and running for cover in the face of the gunshots fired in the broad daylight.

The mid-afternoon shoot-out has left three men nursing gunshot wounds following the altercation in an area popularly known as “Jam Rock”, considered a joint for selling drinks and illegal drugs.

The injured men from the shooting incident are Damian Depradine known as “Jigger,” Andre LaTouche known as “Tug Life,” and Romel Haynes.

They had to be rushed to the St. George’s General Hospital for medical attention as soon as the firing died down.

The shooting incident halted activities in the City as many persons who had received their end of month salary were in the process of paying their utility bills, and purchasing grocery and other items for the long May Day weekend.

Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY that a group of men were engaged in a scuffle in front of the Vendor’s Market and it was quickly followed by the throwing of bottles at each other.

It is alleged that two men including one from the south of the island, whipped out guns and started firing shots at the three men who were hit by bullets before fleeing the scene.

Police later issued a wanted man bulletin for Omari Matthew Hall, a 33-year old Landscaper, but he reportedly surrendered to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Sunday.

Up to the time of going to press Wednesday, no charges were slapped on Hall by the lawmen.

A high-level police source informed THE NEW TODAY that the lawmen are still in the process of investigating the incident as the men from the underworld do not often co-operate with lawmen.

He said that a search is on for a second suspect, referred to as “the main culprit” and who is believed to have gone into hiding.

One of the bullets fired on Friday reportedly went straight through the window of the nearby Foodland Market Square Supermarket, which was filled with shoppers at the time.

Spots of what appears to be blood stains were visible on the sidewalk on Halifax Street, St. George’s.

This area is normally used as a “hang-out” spot by persons who engage in the drinking of alcoholic beverages.

One person who came close to the downtown fracas is quoted as saying: “I just came from the bank, Scotiabank when I heard ‘pow, pow, pow’. I ran back into the bank to take cover.”

Both Depradine who is 31 years old and La Touche, 32 have been in trouble with the law in the past.

In 2009, Depradine who was originally charged with murder but was reduced to manslaughter was placed on a $3,000 bond for two years in 2011 by then high court judge, Madam Justice Clare Henry.

The murder charge was laid on Depradine who had just returned from the Canada Farm Workers Program, following the death of Christopher Williams of Lagoon Road, St. George’s.

23-year old Williams had succumbed to injuries at the St. George’s General Hospital two weeks after colliding with a vehicle on December 5, 2009 on the Grand Anse main road.

It was alleged that Depradine who was a 25-year old labourer at the time pushed Williams in the path of the approaching vehicle, which resulted in the fatal accident.

LaTouche who is from Park Lane, St. George’s was recently charged by police with maiming.

He is accused of inflicting a wound on the right wrist of St. Paul’s resident Seon Calliste on January 31 while on bail for two matters of a similar nature.

The downtown shoot-out has come three weeks following another shoot-out in the city involving Market Hill, St. George’s bartender Dean Dowden.

Dowden who is currently on bail in the sum of $15,000 with two sureties is facing a charge of attempting to commit murder.

This incident occurred on April 8 on Melville Street, St. George’s.

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