Violent start to 2012!

Any hopes of starting the New Year on a less violent note than 2011 was crushed just two days into 2012 with news of a fatal shooting in the island’s capital that claimed the lives of two young men. Twenty-two-year-old Kyle Innocent from Grass Street and 28-year-old Kendy Charles from Ciceron were clearly at the wrong place at the wrong time when a gunman opened fire in the hang-out spot where the two were in Grass Street along with friends and acquaintances.
Reports reaching the STAR indicate that an unmasked gunman opened fire in the area at about 4:15pm on Tuesday resulting in the two men and another young man, 19-year-old Mervin Elfridge from Waterworks being shot. Elfridge is currently in stable condition undergoing medical treatment.
A close friend of Kendy Charles told the STAR this week she didn’t know the 28-year-old to be hanging out in the
area where he met his death, but says she’d seen him in that area in recent times.
“He was at Square and passed there afterward,” she said. “Some guy who wasn’t masked just came in and he was standing in the hole in Grass Street and started shooting. It wasn’t any targeted thing. Someone who was on the block called my neighbour and my neighbour called me. She told me she wasn’t sure if he died so I called his phone but didn’t get any answer. I called his mother and told her to find out what was going on.”
“I wasn’t really surprised he got shot,” she added. “If that’s the place you’re liming where there’s always shootings it’s kind of inevitable to some extent, but the fact that he died has everyone surprised. He made some bad choices with friends and the people he hung out with. I don’t know him to have trouble with anyone, maybe its some gang thing. No one cares who else gets involved at the time.”
Charles’ friend described him as a “very jovial person who was always fooling around and liked making people laugh.” She revealed he’d left behind two children, one just seven years old who she said was “too young to understand.”
“He’s a bit sad and he wasn’t eating at first,” she said of Kendy’s seven-year-old son. “For the last two days he was just quiet. He didn’t want to sleep by himself anymore. From the time he was told what happened all he said
was he wanted to see his father.”
Charles reportedly died on the scene and Innocent moments later at hospital. Funeral dates are yet to be announced and police investigations are ongoing.
On an HTS news broadcast this week Kendy’s sister spoke of her brother who was the eldest of four siblings and worked as a mechanic. The young woman described her brother as a hard working and loving individual with whom she shared a close bond.
“When I got the news I couldn’t work, so I left and went to the hospital,” she said. “One of the nurses confirmed he died on the spot. He got two shots, one in the chest and one in the back. He was standing by the road. The guy sprayed inside with no care, whoever get shot get shot. It was just to take out whoever was inside.”
Any expecting things to cool off after a double murder on the third day of the year were proved wrong the very next day when Denroy Moise also known as Coff Drop, a 23-year-old originally from Choiseul was fatally shot in Cacoa, Banonneau. According to persons from the area the young man fell to his death behind his 88-year-old grandmother’s home
where he lived after being shot by the roadside. The 23-year-old previously resided in Wilton’s Yard and family related that he may have been in a troubled situation before moving to the area.
Speaking to the Acting Police Commissioner this week Vernon Francois said the recent incidences were a cause for concern to police but related it was a known fact for law enforcement that there would be spikes on and off in terms of violence on the island. In his words, what was important was how
those matters were dealt with.
“What we have to do now is deal with it,” he said. “We have systems in place to deal with it. The crimes we’ve had and the murders we have are committed by very coward criminals. What they do is run somewhere, commit their murders and run back but we know how to deal with them and we’re going to deal with them.”
Francois agreed Grass street was a crime hot spot but said one incident resulting in two murders should not suggest police had let up crime fighting effort in that area.
“The entire Chassee road is of concern to us,” he said. “ Grass Street, Wilton’s Yard, Marchand, as law enforcement we have continuously done policing in those areas. The reality of the situation is that we won’t be able to be present every single minute in those areas. It takes us back to the way people deal with conflicts because you won’t have police presence every single time a crime is committed.”
On matters of homicide figures for 2011, Francois said although there were a record number of homicides last year, “on law enforcement terms not every homicide is a crime.”
“The reality of situation, we actually had 38 murders, [not including the 14 police killings] which is five less than last year, so for law enforcement purposes, it may very well be the constitution of St Lucia provides for the killing by one human
being of another under some circumstances so its not exactly right for us to lump every death as a crime.”
“From law enforcement terms we prefer to think we had 38 murders for last year,” Francois went on. “Having said that its not necessarily any credit to the police that we had a lower number of murders. We shouldn’t really be counting numbers we need to look at circumstances, which result in murders. It has to do with our relationships and how we deal with conflicts. It’s not really an indictment on policing but the way we handle issues, which result in the number of murders we have. Its not always fair to think of it as an indictment on law enforcement.”

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