Mazaruni Prison escape: Fugitive’s accomplice shot, killed by Police

Police have shot and killed a man believed to be an accomplice of the notorious convicted criminal, Mark Royden Williams known as “Smallie”. Williams recently escaped from Mazaruni Prison, prompting an intensive manhunt by law enforcement officers.
Dead is Neon Howard, called “Taxi”, of Friendship, East Coast Demerara.
Reports are that on Sunday, a confrontation ensued leading to the fatal shooting of the 33-year-old man at St Mary’s Logging area in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). According to Police, Howard was shot after he opened fire on Joint Services ranks along a trail leading from St Mary’s Quarry, Essequibo River.

Escapee: Royden Williams known as “Smallie”

On Sunday evening, Police said Howard was wanted for aiding in the escape of Williams called “Smallie”, who, with Howard’s assistance, fled the Mazaruni Prison on May 19.
According to Police, based on information received of sightings of the trio in the St Mary’s Quarry area on Saturday, ranks from the Joint Services responded and launched several patrols (ATV and foot) in the area.
“At about 06:54 hrs Sunday, a patrol on ATV was along a trail about six miles north/west of where a lumber concession is based on the Essequibo River bank when the patrol came upon Howard. The Joint Services ranks recognised him as one of the men wanted,” the Police statement said.
According to the Police, the ranks arrested Howard and proceeded to escort him through the trail, when the suspect suddenly snatched one of the ranks’ firearms from his lap as the rank drove the ATV.
Howard, Police said, immediately jumped off the ATV, ran a short distance in front of it, and turned face-on whilst attempting to crank the firearm.
As a result, one of the Joint Services ranks, who was armed with an AK-47 rifle, then discharged four rounds in Howard’s direction, one of which struck him and he fell in a ditch of water whilst still attempting to crank the firearm.
“On seeing that, another Joint Services rank then discharged three rounds from his 9mm weapon, of which two struck him as he soon became motionless,” the Police said on Sunday.
He was escorted to the Bartica Regional Hospital, where he was examined by a doctor on duty who pronounced him dead on arrival.
At the time of Howard’s arrest, Police said that he was found with a black Samsung phone, one grey haversack which contained a pair of black Nike boots, Vitamin C tablets, Iron tablets, Malaria tablets, one camouflage hammock, one pack of cook-up seasoning, and one pair of checkered boxers.
Police said that an eyewitness who had interactions under duress with the escapee and his accomplices has positively identified Howard as one of those accomplices.

This development comes shortly after six individuals, including four prison officers, were remanded to prison on charges related to assisting in the escape of the death row inmate and mass murderer from Mazaruni maximum security prison.
The persons charged are Alexander Hopkinson, Oldfield Romulus, Conroy Hosannah, and Omar Witherspoon. They have been charged alongside Rajmohan Autor, known as “Chico,” a businessman, and Frangeliz Jugandry Flores Perez, a Venezuelan national.
The accused were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony under Section 34 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:01. During their virtual appearance before Bartica Magistrate Christel Lambert, Hosannah and Witherspoon were represented by Attorney-at-Law Patrice Henry, Romulus by Attorney Eusi Anderson, and Hopkinson by Attorney-at-Law Bernard Da Silva.
The others appeared without legal representation. The case is scheduled to be called again on June 22. It was reported that Perez had visited Williams before his escape, and the boat captain allegedly involved in facilitating his flight was subsequently apprehended by the Police.
Williams’s escape from the prison was executed with the assistance of heavily armed accomplices. The audacious escape took place in broad daylight, utilising a speedboat. During the escape, the escort party accompanying Williams was attacked with AK-47 rifles by the individuals on the boat, which was in the Mazaruni River. Fortunately, no prison officers were injured during the incident.
Following the escape, the Guyana Police Force announced a reward of $10 million for any information leading to Williams’s arrest.
Williams had been found guilty of the Bartica Massacre in 2008, where he was responsible for the deaths of 12 individuals, including three Police officers. He was sentenced to death in September 2022 for the murder of Guyana Defence Force Corporal Ivor Williams, who was fatally shot on January 23, 2008.
He had previously escaped from Camp Street Prison on July 9, 2017, but was eventually recaptured on October 10, 2017, on the Weldaad Public Road in West Coast Berbice. The Police have urged the public to exercise caution and remain vigilant, as Williams and his accomplices are armed and considered extremely dangerous.
Investigations into the escape are currently ongoing. (G9)