As tensions flare in Marigot, over the shooting death of a 38-year-old man by a police officer, several eyewitnesses have come forward to lash out at the police for the incident.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, one eyewitness named Mario told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that the victim of Sunday’s shooting, Yves Rene, was innocent and didn’t deserve to die.
Recounting what took place, Mario said that a vehicle had pulled up alongside the gap at Marigot where he, Rene and several other men, were liming. The police stepped out of the vehicle stating that they were from the Drugs Unit conducting a random search.
“They asked all of the men at the bus stand, to put their hands against the banister,” Mario recalled.
However, everyone but the victim complied. Mario told SNO that Rene has had brushes with the law before, so he got scared and panicked. He began running and a young male police officer went after him.
Another eyewitness, Lloyd, who was also searched for drugs, told SNO that Rene ran towards the side of the “shanty,” and the police officer stooped down and aimed at his head and fired one single shot.
According to Lloyd, the police used a 12-inch shot gun which blasted Rene’s skull, killing him instantly. This sent him tumbling down the hill from the bus stand.
Asked whether he thinks that the officer may have done it intentionally, Lloyd said he believes it was.
“Yes. If you look at the angle, obviously at the side of the shanty is a slanted hill going down, so if the gentleman going, obviously its the head area you are going to get. He is a trained police officer,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, Mario told SNO that besides shooting the victim, the police did not take into consideration his surrounding, as he believes anyone could have been injured.
“They have kids all around this area walking. I don’t know what went into the police head to shoot the man, much less to shoot in the area where people usually pass all the time,” he added.
Mario said the team of police were mainly young men, who may not have had much experience.
“I don’t know why they could give these guys guns. You could give them a taser. When you look at the news in Martinique, US and all over, you don’t see policemen opening fire without assessing the area.”
James on the other hand claims that the police said that they found a firearm and a quantity of marijuana in the victim’s possession, but he is alleging that these items were planted on his deceased friend.
“He didn’t had shirt on him. Where will he store this gun? Its a public place. Do you expect him to have a gun? He was with us all the time,” James told SNO.
The man’s brother, Gildus, described him as a calm and peaceful person.
“I just feel bad about it. If they wanted to shoot him that’s okay, but not in his head and not to kill him,” he said.
Other eyewitnesses claim that the officer-in-charge of the team held onto his head when he saw that Rene was shot, telling persons in the area that they were just there to conduct a random search.
Mario said that he wants to see justice served in the matter, because it could have been him or any one of his friends who may have lost their lives like Rene.
“All of us will help the family and bring it down to the law, because these things cant continue to happen in this country. You can’t go killing an innocent guy even though he run.”
He said he is confident that the media will highlight the “cruelty” and “power” that some policemen display.
“When you are on the side of the law, you feel strong but you have to be careful with that power,” he added.