Bystanders shot in Walvaroo gunplay
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July 22, 2014

Bystanders shot in Walvaroo gunplay

The phrase “smoking can kill you” never meant as much to one individual as it meant to Byron Browne.

The Sion Hill mechanic was caught in a hail of bullets after venturing from his Walvaroo home to purchase cigarettes at a nearby shop, shortly after 11 p.m. on Sunday night.{{more}}

One of the bullets caught Browne at the front of his upper left leg and exited the back of the leg.

The 54-year-old man told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday from the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital’s (MCMH) male surgical ward, that he was already at home when he felt a craving for a smoke.

“Earlier up, I was by a shop watching a movie, but when the movie done, I move out from dey.

“When I reach home, I do so, I realise I ain’t have no cigarette, so I get up back and go outside and go down by the shop; it ain’t too far from me.

“I go across dey and I buy my cigarette and a coca cola, a movie was showing now and I decide this movie look good, so let me take a little peep, because I ain’t ready to sleep yet.”

Browne said he recalled passing some other patrons of the shop sitting on the outside, when he entered and took a seat.

Not too long after, the father of five said he heard shots being fired from outside the shop, then felt a stinging pain in his left leg.

He said he dived to the floor when he realised that he was shot and laid low until the shooting stopped.

According to Browne, police officers arrived on the scene about ten minutes later, and took him and another man who was also shot, to the hospital.

“I know the guy was sitting outside the shop with some others, but I didn’t know he was shot until we get to the hospital,” Browne said.

“He is a lucky man; he luckier than me, because if that been punch like me, he woulda dead.

A bullet grazed the other man, who is identified as Kingsly Thomas, at the back of his head. He was treated at the MCMH and discharged.

Despite the unexpected misfortune, Browne said that he still feels that his community is a safe and peaceful place, and that neither he nor the other injured man were the intended target of the shooter.

He was disappointed though, that the injury would prevent him from plying his trade for some time.

“I will leave here and still walk out, I still feel safe in my community, because I don’t think they came after me. I was just an innocent bystander, me ain’t no troublemaker, I never get in no trouble with the law, I was never arrested or anything.

“I just feel it how I can’t work today. I was looking forward to make money for my son’s registration to secondary school, but they say I will be here for a few days.

“If I didn’t go for that cigarette, this wouldn’t have happened.”(JJ)