A resident of Soufriere, reflecting on last night’s shooting, said he believes it may have stemmed from gang activity.
The resident, who requested anonymity, explained that the incident happened a few feet away from his home. According to the man, his girlfriend related the story to him, as he was not at home at the time of the incident.
“The police were after a gang of masked gunmen,” the resident told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today.
He said there were at least three to four masked gunmen, who were being chased by the police. The bandits escaped by crossing over the river closest to the Palmiste Road, while the police were on the other side of the river on Wingsville Road.
“They found an opening by my yard, which they chose to hide. Little that they knew I had a dog and the dog kept barking. The masked gunmen opened fire at the police who were on the other side of the river. There were multiple gunshots right under my bedroom window,” he said.
The resident told SNO that he is of the belief that the police did not return fire, because if the police did, then his home would have been riddled with bullets or might have resulted in casualties. However, the gunmen managed to escape and luckily no one was injured, including his girlfriend who witnessed the incident.
Questioned as to whether there were any such incidents before, the resident said: “When things of that nature happens in Soufriere you don’t really hear it on the news because we had an armed robbery on that same road a little higher up and you still can’t hear that on the news. Just about two months ago we had shots being fired almost in that same neighborhood.”
Asked whether he feels safe as a resident given the increasing number of criminal activities in the area, the man said: “I am somebody from the community and I probably might feel comfortable, but it is not a safe area as of lately. It is the young fellas that are going up there and falling by the waste side. A lot of young boys from the block, basically they have all kind of things in their waist. As a resident I would feel safe, but is not a safe way to walk.”
The source told SNO that outsiders should always be on the lookout because they could be attacked at any point.
“If you not from the area, people would just watch you like you coming to destroy them and they would probably come and destroy you first.”
He said it is no secret that the area is known to have a few criminal gangs, comprising mainly young men who rob people.
“Just recently there was a gang war between one community and the Palmiste gang and a gang from the golf, and that end up in bloodshed where they had to transport one gentleman to Castries via a boat because the bridges were out,” he added.
He expressed sadness over the way in which these gangs operate, stating that they tend to break up street limes and parties.
“They always wait when they have a good time, like when people celebrating, like Carnival or disco, they wait then to attack the other party,” he disclosed.
The resident believes that the issue is beyond government’s control and it has a lot to do with the new culture of gangs being created in Soufriere and generally on the island.
“This issue has nothing to do with government, but the youths are to be blamed. They have to get up and go and look for work because if they sit down at their homes or on the block, nobody will come and get them. They have to get up and get it,” he asserted.
The concerned resident said he would like to see more Soufriere youths taking part in different work programmes and give up violence.
“They would just sit on the block and do illegal stuff because maybe it is bigger cash for them, but they can get up and go look for a job and earn a living by the right way… they don’t do it. They always wait on the government to provide and even when it’s there for them they still not going.”