The proprietors of a Chinese Supermarket in Albion, Berbice, along with customers, were on Saturday evening robbed after two masked gunmen invaded the business establishment.
Reports are around 21:30h, the two perpetrators arrived at the “Z-One Chinese Supermarket” located at Lot 16B Albion Front, Corentyne, Berbice, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a small handgun.
The men stormed the premises and immediately ordered the customers inside to lie face down on the floor while ordering the owners to hand over the cash.
According to a Police source, while making demands, one bandit hit one of the proprietors across the head with his handgun. Meanwhile, the other suspect proceeded to relieve the customers of their cash and cellular phones.
One staff recalled being taken to the back to show a bandit where the room containing the money was after which he took the gun and struck him to the head. A female Chinese national was then ordered to lead the bandit to her private room. A few minutes later, the bandit returned alone. It was later discovered that after the gunman collected a quantity of cash and left the room, the woman locked herself in.
Meanwhile, one neighbour reported that he saw the men coming through the street dressed in hoodies.
According to her, a Police patrol vehicle was approaching and the bandit at the door opened fire on the vehicle sending the three officers diving to take cover.
“Is bear gunshots non-stop. Is about 20 shots I hear. The Police did not shoot back. And when he finish, they just walk and go through the street.”
Another eyewitness told Guyana Times that three strangers on bicycles were seen riding through the street on several occasions earlier in the day. According to the villager, moments before the rapid gunfire, a strange car drove into the street behind the supermarket and parked.
“After I see the man shooting I know that is a robbery and then I see the two men with guns walk and coming straight towards my house and then they turn and go in the street where the car park so I go inside and lock up,” the witness recalled.
While the robbery was in progress, the Police were notified, and a three-member team from the Albion Police Station was deployed to the scene.
This publication was told that the crime scene was some three blocks away from the Albion Police Station, but from all indications, the Police Officers were not prepared for the welcome they received.
As the ranks arrived at the robbery scene, the gunmen fired multiple shots at the vehicle, resulting in the officers having to shield themselves while running for cover to avoid being hit by the bullets that were fired in their direction.
The ranks did not have time to return fire.
According to another Police source, the three Constables who arrived in the patrol vehicle were not from the Impact Base Unit –one is a driver and the other two are attached to the Enquiries Unit of the Police Station.
“No senior rank was with them at the time of the incident, those Constables are pretty young and were probably on the job about a year to two, and this is the first time they were exposed to rapid gunfire. Maybe they did not have enough time to act, since the bullets went flying as soon as their vehicle came to a halt at the establishment, or maybe they could not shoot back because customers were being held hostage. However, they are from Enquiries so even though we are trained to shoot, this is the first time they experienced something like this and no senior person was there to guide them. I mean, they turned up because they were the closest, like three lantern posts away from the scene is the police station…”, the source stated.
The gunmen managed to make good their escape with the loot on foot. The Police have since recovered 20 spent shells outside the supermarket and another six inside. Investigations are ongoing.