In the first police killing in Cayman in recent memory, members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Tactical Firearms Unit shot and killed a wanted suspect on Friday 6 January.
A press release from the RCIPS issued on Friday said, “This morning, 6 January, around 5:30AM, a pre-planned firearms operation occurred at an address on Theresa Drive in Windsor Park to execute a firearms warrant and detain a man, age 34 of Jamaica.
This firearms operation was carried out by officers from the Tactical Firearms Unit, who are highly-trained in firearms deployment and operational searches.
During this operation the suspect exited the premises with a firearm. A number of shots were fired and the suspect was injured.
Two tactical medical officers, one of whom is an advanced EMT, were part of the operation. They immediately provided primary medical aid to the suspect, and executed basic life support protocols, until the ambulance arrived. The man was transported to Cayman Islands Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:16AM.
A handgun with live ammunition was recovered at the scene.”
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne and Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis held a press briefing on the issue on Friday afternoon.
While neither would confirm the identity of the dead man, citing an ongoing investigation into the shooting, other sources have confirmed to The Cayman Reporter that he is wanted fugitive Norval Maconia Barrett, age 34, of Jamaica.
On 23 December, the RCIPS issued a bulletin requesting public assistance in their search for Barrett, who was believed to be on island illegally.
The bulletin said, “It is believed that Mr. Barrett is on island illegally; anyone who sees Mr. Barrett should exercise caution as he could be potentially dangerous. The police should be notified immediately through either 9-1-1 or George Town Police Station at 949-4222.”
Barrett had been convicted of an armed robbery of a local gas station in the Cayman Islands in 2011. Although originally sentenced to 12 years in prison, his sentence was later reduced to nine years on appeal. Apparently released early, he was deported back to Jamaica.
While a loaded firearm was found at the scene, Commissioner Byrne did not confirm unofficial reports that Barrett had fired on police. This, he said, will be part of the investigation into the incident.
The RCIPS press release said, and Mr Byrne confirmed at the press briefing that, “Post-incident procedures have been carried out today in line with RCIPS policy. In order to ensure further transparency and independence, the RCIPS has asked the Bermuda Police Service to provide officers to carry out an investigation into the incident. Two officers from Bermuda will be arriving on island this weekend to lead the investigation and conduct enquiries.”
Barrett’s killing marks the first time in at least three decades that a suspect has been shot and killed by the RCIPS, according to Deputy Commissioner Ennis
In fact, any police shootings in Cayman are rare occurrences. Most recently, in November 2016 a dog was shot and killed after attacking police at the scene of a raid in Prospect. Prior to that incident, the last report of shots fired by police was in 2011 when an officer shot at a vehicle during a chase. There were no injuries in that incident.
Although such incidents are unusual here, police have also been fired upon. In 2013 officers were fired upon during pursuit of a suspect in George Town. There were no injuries. Prior to that, in 2009 a police car was shot at while on patrol in the Shedden Road area of George Town. One police officer was grazed in that incident, and no arrests were ever made in relation to it.
Commissioner Byrne confirmed that the officers involved in Friday’s deadly shooting will receive counselling.