“We thought he killed our mother” – daughters recall

…as lone gunman attacks Grove family
…Police took hours to respond

By Devina Samaroo

The usually quiet community of Diamond/Grove Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara (EBD), was thrown into a state of shock during the wee hours of Monday when a single gunshot went off.

Some of the ranks who arrived at the crime scene some three hours after the emergency call was initially made

Neighbours scurried to their windows where they saw a dark shadow disappearing in the distance.
A family had just been robbed.
The Fredericks, originally from the Essequibo Coast, had been renting an apartment in the Section C Block Y zone, which is mixed with a few developed houses and abandoned lands with overgrown bushes – a common sight in many housing schemes.
Marcia Fredericks, 49, was standing in her yard trying to get a taxi to take her young nephew to Parika, East Bank Essequibo.
It was 03:00h and while the stillness of the night still prevailed, being up at those hours was not unusual for this working mother who is employed as a cleaner and would usually get up before the break of dawn to prepare for the day’s work.
In the presence of the child, the lone masked man jumped the unpainted concrete fence and dashed towards the startled woman.
He grabbed her by her hair and dragged her inside the house, where it is alleged that he began to beat her with a gun.
Her two daughters, who were inside, cried for help. The elder daughter ran to the back of the house while the younger, just 18 years old, began to battle with the bandit.
At this point, the gunman turned the gun in the young girl’s direction and threatened to shoot if she did not comply with his demands.
“I told him we didn’t have anything,” the teenager recalled.
After some time, the perpetrator decided to leave. He grabbed a cellular phone and darted towards the street.
As he was departing, a gunshot went off, presumably to ward off the neighbourhood dogs, which were already gathered at the bridge, barking ferociously.
“When I heard the gunshot, I thought he killed my mother,” the visibly shaken elder daughter recalled.
The ordeal lasted just a few minutes. The gunshot alerted neighbours, who were quick to render assistance.
The nearest police station, located just a minute drive’s away, was contacted. The officer promised to send someone right away.
The family, along with neighbours, waited in the shivering night, and still, no patrol arrived. A second call was made to the station and again, an empty promise was provided.
After some thirty minutes, the family decided to just let it be. The mother, despite her mild head injuries, proceeded to take the child to the stelling.
The two daughters, too scared to go back home, sought refuge at a neighbour’s house.
Daylight eventually came, and the girls made their way back home.
Shortly after, a team of police officers, heavily armed, arrived in a pick-up – more than three hours after the emergency call was made. The ranks came from the Brickdam Police Station in the capital city, Georgetown.
They took a statement and promised to have a detective from the local station follow-up.
For now, the family will be living in fear, recounting that near-death experience and entertaining the even more dreadful thought that help from those vested to serve and protect is not as reliable as they had hoped.