Brothers charged in connection with Arimu Backdam double-murder

Thirty-two-year-old Travis Fredericks and his 28-year-old brother Fernando Fredericks, both residents of Tuschen Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo, have on Thursday been charged in connection with the murder of Zaheer Mohammed Sheriff and Donvan Washington.

Murdered: Zaheer Mohammed Sheriff and Donvan Washington

Police have said that these two men, who have been charged separately with the offence of being an accessory after the fact of murder, have been arraigned before Bartica Magistrate Teriq Mohamed and were not required to plead to the indictable charge. They have both been
remanded to prison, and will make their next court appearance on April 25, 2024.

The body of 50-year-old Sheriff, a father of three and resident of Byderabo Road in Bartica, and that of his 26-year-old porter Donvan Washington, also a father of three and resident of Seventh Avenue in Bartica, were riddled with bullets on March 3, 2024 at Arimu Backdam, a Cuyuni riverine community.
It was reported that two masked men on a red all-terrain vehicle (ATV) carted off from these deceased persons 102 ounces of raw gold, valued at $37 million, and two licensed firearms (a .32 pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun), property of Sheriff.
Investigations so far have revealed that Sheriff was the owner of a six-inch land dredge operation at Arimu Backdam, and he had ‘washed down’ on that Sunday morning before leaving the camp with Washington to go to Bartica on an ATV.
According to the police, the general manager of Sheriff’s operation reported that about five minutes after his boss had left camp, he heard several loud explosions, which he suspected to be gunshots. He said he went to investigate, and about 500 metres from the camp, found both Sheriff and Washington lying in the trail with gunshot injuries about their bodies.
Police said the 39-year-old manager reported observing that both of Sheriff’s firearms and the gold were missing. He later made a report to the Bartica Police Station.
Sheriff’s body was examined, and it revealed that he was shot in his right upper chest, upper right thigh, upper right arm, and left upper back.
Washington’s body, when examined, revealed that he was shot to his lower abdomen, left chest, left shoulder, left hand, and left elbow; and he had four wounds to the right thigh, two to the left thigh, and one to his back.
The scene was processed, and one .32 magazine with eight live matching rounds, seven 9mm spent shells, and three .32 spent shells were found.
A close relative of Washington’s told <<Guyana Times>> they received a call on that Sunday morning informing that the two men had been ambushed shortly after processing raw gold from the mining operation. The relative said the family was still in shock at the man’s sudden death.
Autopsies performed on the bodies of Washington and Mohammed Sheriff by Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh on Monday gave the cause of death as ‘multiple gunshot wounds’.