5 shot as gunmen create mayhem at Ramada Princess Casino
– 1 arrested after left behind by colleagues
Five persons were shot after gunmen invaded the Ramada Princess Casino, at Providence, on the East Bank of Demerara in the wee hours of Friday morning.
According to reports, pandemonium broke out at the gambling facility after four gunmen stormed the Casino at about 03:45h and discharged several rounds as they relieved patrons and staff of cash and other valuables.
During the shooting, Eon Garraway was shot to his left hand; James Gregory was hit to the left foot; Orlando Knights received injuries to the left hand; and Udairan Sookraj was shot to his right hand. They were all admitted to a city hospital.
In addition, Melissa Ferguson, Jermaine Mason and Roshel Fraser were also assaulted by the armed men during the episode. Based on reports received, after the men entered the facility, they held a security guard on duty at gunpoint and took away his shotgun and several rounds of ammunition.
The men then ordered everyone to lie on the ground and escorted the security guard to the cashier’s cage where they relieved the cashier of an undisclosed sum of foreign and local currency. By this time, the police were alerted about the robbery in progress and responded promptly.
As they arrived at the scene, they were confronted by the armed men which resulted in an exchange of gunfire. During the exchange, Police Lance Corporal Andrew Richardson attached to Impact Base, Brickdam Police Station was shot to his abdomen. He was admitted to a city hospital and reportedly underwent emergency surgery.
Meanwhile, during the shootout, one of the bandits was captured and taken into Police custody. The firearm that was taken away from the security guard was recovered. The other three men managed to escape.
Guyana Times understands that the car that was used in the robbery was hijacked at Brush Dam, Buxton, on the East Coast of Demerara.
Hid in the wash room
However, a waitress attached to the casino told this publication that she went to use the wash room located in the lunchroom and as she was leaving, she saw the gunmen making their way into the gambling hall.
Upon seeing this, she alerted her colleagues and without hesitation, they joined her in the washroom since they were fearful that something was “going down”. The women, amounting to 12, were joined by two male colleagues who further assisted in securing the area by barring the doors and closing the windows that were open.
While hiding in the washroom the woman claimed that they heard footsteps in the kitchen and thought that the gunmen wanted to use the back entrance. Soon after, a hail of gunshots was heard then there was silent.
They breathed a sigh of relief after they heard the sound of sirens. As they stepped out of the washroom and went into the gambling hall, they realised that two coworkers were shot. At the scene on Friday morning, A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander Clifton Hicken confirmed that the Police were able to capture one of the bandits who was hiding on the premises after he was left behind by his colleagues.
Hicken could not say how much money was stolen from the casino. As Police investigated the scene, they recovered more than 20 spent shells.
When Guyana Times visited the scene later in the day, investigators were tightlipped about the incident and so were the traumatised employees who were seen milling around the area, seemingly in shock. The Manager of the casino also refused to speak with the media.
This attack comes as quite a surprise, since anyone going to the casino has to first go through a number of security checks. From reports reaching this newspaper, the Police might be thinking the robbery might have been an inside job.