Police heads say Vincentians have nothing to fear
November 15, 2016
Police heads say Vincentians have nothing to fear

Despite four murders having taken place here in less than six hours, residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have nothing to fear.

So said Deputy Commissioner of Police Colin John, mere hours after Vincentians awoke to the news that between 8 p.m. Sunday and 2 a.m. Monday, four individuals had lost their lives in brutal fashion, allegedly at the hands of a man who went on a killing spree, spanning two constituencies.{{more}}

Dead are Edinboro resident Nicholas Layne, 35, who was attacked in the public road at Cocoa, Campden Park; Avis Israel, 75, and her son Ronald Israel, 47, who were killed at their Old Montrose home; and Pamela Williams of Kingstown Park, 57, who was also killed at her home.

Avis and Pamela are both retired nurses, while Ronald is a mechanic. Nicholas was employed with engineering company Dipcon.

Yesterday afternoon, during a press briefing at Police Headquarters, Kingstown, Deputy Commissioner of Police Colin John said that the police are investigating the four murders, which have driven the murder count for 2016 up to 31.

Expressing condolences to the relatives and persons who suffered as a result of “the tragic incident”, the Deputy Commissioner disclosed that 18-year-old Sandy Bay resident Joroni Baptiste has been detained in relation to the murders.

“St Vincent and the Grenadines is still a very safe place and based on the intelligence and information we have, there is no need to be unduly worried or unduly cautious about your safety,” said John.

He said while the incident was an isolated one, people should be alert to their surroundings, so that they do not fall victim to any crime.

John said while he cannot guarantee that such an incident would not happen again, it was highly unlikely, based on intelligence and information.

“…the killings seem to have links and the person who is alleged to commit the offence has been caught close to where one of the persons died,” stressed Deputy Commissioner John.

Up to press time, the suspect was a patient at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), nursing a head injury and other injuries about his body, including his hands and legs.

Deputy Commissioner John said while he would not go into details because the murders are still under investigation, from basic reports, at around 1 a.m. on Monday, residents of Kingstown Park were alerted by screaming and went to Williams’ home, where they encountered Baptiste, who appeared to be injuring Williams.

Baptiste was apprehended and detained by the Kingstown Park residents and sustained injuries during his capture.

The Deputy Commissioner said that while nothing is certain, all four homicides are similar in the way which they appear to have been committed and seem to point to the perpetrator being one person.

He said that post mortem examinations will soon be done, but investigations point to the use of blunt force trauma to the head and in some cases stab wounds, along with the blunt force trauma.

In some cases, bricks and balusters were found either under or very close to the victims.

John noted that the suspect is known to the police, as he has, in the past, been charged with damage to property, wounding, assault, bodily harm, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Baptiste is also alleged to have a history of mental illness and according to the Deputy Commissioner, he was institutionalized for a short period.

It was also revealed that during Baptiste’s last run-in with the law, he was taken to a doctor for observation and was given a clean bill of health to stand trial at that time.

John stressed that the police will continue patrols, but persons must appreciate that the police cannot be everywhere at once.

He noted also that despite the fact that two of the victims were murdered at their home, which is only a few feet away from the Old Montrose Police Station, that does not mean that the police are not vigilant or need to be more vigilant.

On the same night of the murders, three women were attacked in Dasent Cottage, which borders Old Montrose, but managed to fight off the attacker.(LC)