Investigation launched into shooting of Pole Yard man by police
December 23, 2016
Investigation launched into shooting of Pole Yard man by police

The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) has launched an investigation into the death of a Pole Yard resident who was shot and killed by police Wednesday morning.

The circumstances under which Desroy “Turkey” Richards met his death are murky, as the official report from the police varies significantly from the accounts of eyewitnesses.{{more}}

In a press release, police say that around 6:30 a.m., they visited the home of the 35-year-old man, a suspect in a November 23, 2016, cutlass robbery, as well as a series of other burglaries.

Police further reported that Richards attacked officers with a cutlass when they attempted to arrest him.

“It is reported that Richards grabbed a cutlass and attacked the police officer. The police officer immediately fired a warning shot into the air, but Richards continued his charge at the police officer and had to be neutralized,” the release said.

However, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT a few hours after the incident, Richards’ girlfriend, Shani Victor, recalled a different series of events. Victor said Richards jumped through their window, ran and tried to hide under a neighbour’s house when police officers arrived at their home.

The Pole Yard woman, who broke into tears during the interview, said that while Richards was under the house, some police officers stood outside shouting “come out!”

According to Victor, when Richards crawled from under the house, he was greeted by the police officers. She said at that point, a police officer who was still inside her house shouted: “Man shoot f***ing he!”

The distressed woman, who claims to have witnessed everything, said an officer fired one shot and missed, then fired another, which caught Richards in the back.

Residents of the area said that Richards did not struggle or fight with any of the officers and asserted that he did not charge at the police, but was trying to run away when he was shot.

One resident, however, confirmed that Richards had a cutlass in his waist, which they saw after the officers shot him, while another said the officers took the cutlass out of Richards’ home.

A resident, who declined to give his name, said that Richards is a known thief, but is not known to have a violent history.

“I don’t like what they do the man; it was three of them; they could’ve restrained him or shoot him in the foot; they didn’t have to kill the man,” said the resident.

Witnesses told SEARCHLIGHT that Richards received a bullet wound to his back, but a police report said he was shot in his side.

The police report also said Richards was immediately rushed to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) by police officers and was pronounced dead on arrival.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Richard’s body yesterday, December 22, 2016. (AS)