By Deandrea Hamilton and Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 21, 2022 – A disturbing pattern of death threats recklessly endangering innocent residents emerged again this weekend both on social media and in person, highlighting behavior that can only be described as lopsided.
“…there was an incident here where four people were shot and injured. What we believe happened at this point is that the car arrived on the scene, the car wash adjacent to the building behind me and attacked a number of people resulting in injuries to all four people” , TCI Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said in a report from the active investigation scene, also on Saturday, November 19.
The commissioner was seriously trying to allay fears that the shooting happened at the sports facility where two inter-high school tournaments were taking place. In fact, dozens of school kids from multiple softball and basketball teams were uncomfortably close to the line of fire when what was supposed to be a fun competition turned into a scene of sheer panic.
The Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex was packed with basketball players and parents inside and softballers and more supportive fans outside. Although the scene was packed with children a few yards away, gunmen at a nearby business on Airport Road opened fire in a reckless barrage that injured three adults and killed another.
“At the time of this incident, there was a sporting event for young people. The incident spilled over somewhat as two of the injured rushed into the sports center causing panic. I just want reassure the public that there were police officers on duty at the sporting event who quickly took control of the scene and understood what was going on. To be clear, there was no incident at the sports center. Some injured people ran towards him, to get away from the people attacking them,” Botting explained in his video.
The games were abruptly ended, out of an abundance of caution, Botting said.
This not only exposed the students in the area to what could have been lethal force, but also exposed some of them to what must have been a very traumatic scene as armed police invaded the scene and the two men were carried off, bleeding profusely.
“Framed by police, parents came to pick up their children… I understand that this would have caused panic, I understand that they would have heard the gunshots from the scene of the shooting but I am grateful to the staff who managed the ‘event. and to the officers, who were at the center who brought calm and security to those involved.
This is the second incident in as many weeks that has occurred at the gym. The first saw one teenager stab another sending him to hospital. Among the differences between the two incidents were the security protocols which were quickly implemented this time, locking down those inside the basketball court. Unfortunately, the students on the softball field were exposed and our reports indicate gunshots were heard uncomfortably near the bleachers.
The shooting took place less than 24 hours before the world celebrated Universal Children’s Day.
The constant killings have once again made international headlines with Fox News reporting that killings are on the rise just before the start of the winter tourist season, seriously portraying it as shocking.
A chilling title for the islands that rely so heavily on tourism.
Meanwhile, on social media, murder threats continued to be leveled at residents who responded to wanted posters in three languages offering a ten thousand dollar reward for information regarding alleged killer Brandon Rahming; even a barrister lawyer was not spared a chilling threat.
The silence of the TCI police on the death threats made on its Facebook page is shocking. However, comments by user Brandon Lee appeared to have been scrubbed from the posts.
On Friday, Magnetic Media reported that the threats came from a Facebook user with the profile name Brandon Lee. Hours later, a user with the profile name “Real Shotta Certified” pursued the threats this time even more pointed, promising not just murder but a slew of killers.
[SIC] “I’m screenshotting your name and I’ll ask you about you. I think you want to die. If Brandon leaves, the killers will be more watched. It’s like 20 men ready to die ready for war if Brandon leaves.
The user who didn’t have a profile picture attached told a resident.
The user even continued to threaten law enforcement, [SIC] “If Brandon leaves, look how many killers pop up to back him up. Lol, one of us can handle 10 cops on our own, so understand that,” they said.
So far, despite the $10,000 reward, police have failed to locate the man they call a “gang leader”.