POLICE Commissioner Severin Moncherry this week said the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is working hard to curb shootings.
His comments came in the wake of a spate of shootings over the past week that have left two men dead, one man nursing a bullet wound to his ankle and the hospitalization of two others.
Even an off-duty police officer found himself caught up in the shooting spree when he and a gunman exchanged gunfire in the city on Tuesday afternoon.
Moncherry was not conclusive about the motives for the shootings.
“We are working very hard to see how best we can curb this. It is very unfortunate (that) we hear of these things happening, especially in the middle of the city,” Moncherry said.
He sympathized with those who lost loved ones in the shootings and said the police force is trying to get illegal firearms off the streets as a way of eradicating gun violence.
“We have a patrol team that is doing its best. We also have spoken to all our police officers to do whatever we can to get some of those firearms off the streets,” he said.
Moncherry said that based on what he has heard the shootings could be gang-related.
“There is an Anti-Gang Act that was enacted. However, there’s a little difficulty in terms of enactment, so we are working on that. Some of the definitions in there make it very difficult for us to enforce the law but we are working on that and very soon we should be able to use that piece of legislation,” Moncherry said.
While he did not disclose the approaches police would take to get guns off the streets, he nevertheless promised to increase police patrols. The criminals, he said, have no respect for anyone, including police officers, but must realize that the law makes provision for police officers to defend themselves.
Last week Saturday, around 2:20 a.m. officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) were dispatched to the scene of a suspected shooting at La Clery, Castries.
It was reported that two individuals, who were the riders of separate scooters, sustained multiple gunshot wounds while travelling from Gros Islet to Castries after they were allegedly accosted by unknown individuals with firearms. The assailants were the occupants of a motor vehicle traversing the highway.
The victims — Shane Augustin, 21, and David Khodra, 28, both of Leslie Land, Castries — were conveyed to the Victoria Hospital where they were pronounced dead by medical practitioners.
That same day, a man identified as Kennedy Dantes was shot in the ankle at Riverside Road and on Monday last, a shooting at Bocage resulted in two men being rushed to Victoria Hospital.
On Tuesday, the abovementioned incident between a police officer and a gunman occurred at Riverside Road, Castries. It remains unclear whether the gunman suffered an injury. However, the police officer was not harmed.