…employee among injured bandits
…dead bandit ID’d as senior Policeman’s son, studied in China
Chaos erupted in downtown Georgetown early Tuesday morning when armed bandits invaded the Water Street branch of Republic Bank Limited in a failed attempt to cart off cash.
The three-man attack ended with one of the bandits being killed, while his two accomplices were injured during a shootout with the Police.
Dead is 24-year-old Elton Wray, also known as “Peas”, an agronomy graduate, who lived in Eccles, East Bank Demerara (EBD) and worked as a research assistant at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI). He was also the son of a senior Police official.
His accomplices were Keron Saunders of Mocha Arcadia, EBD, and 24-year-old Jamal Haynes of Norton Street, Georgetown, an employee attached to Republic Bank.
According to reports reaching Guyana Times, the three men drove up to the Bank around 07:30h on Tuesday, just as employees were entering the building.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum told this publication that the men were transported in a vehicle, which was reportedly hijacked on Monday night.
The gunmen entered the financial institution via the inner door of the ATM booth which they accessed from the exterior of the Bank.
As panic broke out among the employees, Haynes held hostage one of his bank colleagues and made his way into the nearby Vendor’s Arcade.
At this point, security guards at the Bank opened fire on the bandits, forcing the now dead man to escape the building, while the third member later surrendered himself to the Police.
This newspaper spoke with eyewitnesses who were at the time plying their trade in the nearby Vendor’s Arcade. They disclosed that Wray had escaped into a “cook shop” located in the Arcade to where he was trailed by the Police.
He managed to make his way into the kitchen of the establishment, where he attempted to seek refuge in disguise as a cook. However, employees at that entity raised an alarm which resulted in Wray being shot by Police.
The bandit was then rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital along with Haynes and Saunders, but was pronounced dead on arrival while his accomplices were admitted for treatment.
Commander of A Division (Georgetown-East Bank), Marlon Chapman told the media that three high-powered pistols were recovered from the crime scene.
The dead man was a beneficiary of a Government of Guyana scholarship to China and graduated with a degree in agronomy. He was serving his second year of the five-year obligatory contract and was working for $186,000 a month.
About 18:00h on Tuesday, Police swooped down on a Juke Nissan with registration PWW 1552, which was parked at Plaza Bridge, South Ruimveldt. Reports are residents reported that the strange vehicle was parked in the vicinity all day. When a search was conducted, it was discovered that the vehicle was registered to the dead bandit.
Meanwhile, Republic Bank Limited (RBL), in a statement on Tuesday, said that “the bandits were unsuccessful in their robbery attempt”.
Moreover, Managing Director Richard Sammy relayed, “Our greatest concern at this point rests upon the safety and well-being of our staff and customers.”
Gratitude was extended to the Guyana Police Force and the private security personnel of the Professional Guard Services for their prompt response in preventing the situation from escalating further, as the Bank pledged its full support in the investigation of the crime.
The Water Street location is now closed until further notice, as the Bank initiates a trauma assistance process for staff members.
Further investigations are ongoing.