(SNO) — A woman who whose family, including her eight-month-old baby, was attacked by a young man on Monday morning, has criticised the police response to the incident.
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, only identifying her family as “Mr and Mrs. Wilson”, told St. Lucia News Online that the attack occurred around 6:30 a.m. Monday outside her home in Agard, Morne Du Don, Castries.
A video of the perpetrator tied up in the tray of a pick-up motor van has gone viral.
“My husband left the house with my eight-month-old baby. He placed her in her car seat and was approached by a young gentleman who asked for a ride,” the mother of two told St. Lucia News Online.
“At his appearance — dirty, no shoes — my husband told him that he was not going to town and went into the car. The young man proceeded to open the front door and pull him out. He wanted the car and the baby,” she added.
“I went into the shower and realised my husband forgot his phone so I rushed outside to witness this man wrestling with my husband. I yelled out for help, ran back in the house to get my cutlass, and asked my 10- year-old to hide. I didn’t get the weapon so I grabbed a post and ran back out, still calling for help.”
The startled woman called 911 but was shocked with the response she allegedly received.
“I attacked the gentleman with my post. Luckily, my neighbours came to aid, and I jumped out of the scramble and called 911. I was told that’s not where I should call and was given another number. I was not the only one calling but no one could get through. I tried calling other people for other numbers but everywhere I got told me it’s not them, until we got to the right place, but he was the only one there, he informed me. By that time my husband and neighbors had the gentleman tied up so I informed the officer. He instructed us to transport the gentleman to the Wellness Centre.
“One of my neighbors received that same message when he got through, so that’s what we did. My neighbor, with a pick-up, and a few other heroes from the community behind, did just that while my husband and I made our way to the station,” the mother said.
She further explained what occurred at the police station.
“On arriving at the station we walked in the room and said we came to make a report, and I expressed my displeasure and frustration about all the calls I had to make and still no assistance was ever received,” she said.
“He (police officer) explained to me that there was a suicide in a near-by area and that’s where his fellow officers were and apologized, but that made me more angry cause they were so close. The individual was dead and two or three or four officers at the scene, and not one could come to save the living. While I am ranting on my neighbors show up with the gentleman still behind the vehicle. Wellness Center sent them back to the station.”
She continued: “Apparently there is a protocol according to the Wellness Centre that the man was supposed to be escorted with an officer. By that time I was beyond frustrated. If he was going to be released the same day, the officer promised to call, which he did late last night, to say we could sleep well, the gentleman is still in custody.”
According to the victim, no one knows the young man. She has since decided not to pursue a case against the him because it turns out he is mentally unstable.
“No one knows him or have seen him before. I am told, not confirmed, he has a relative in a neighbouring community. We were asked if we want to go to court with him and we told them no he is a sick man, just get him the help he needs so he is no longer a danger to us, since he told is he coming back for our baby.”
She said no harm was done to the young man because he was not armed.
“No he was not armed that’s why we didn’t do him any harm. I don’t think he deliberately came to hurt us,” she said.
Police have since confirmed with our newsroom that the young man is still in the custody of the police, at a medical institution.
Meanwhile, the victim said, while the attack was horrific, the police response made it worse.
“The attack was bad but not being given any hope with the words ‘ok mam we are on our way’ made the experience even worse. To save my husband’s life I needed to fight and make the call. All the calls I tried to make was time spent not fighting. Had neighbors not come to give me that help and allowance to make these calls…” she said.