Gun incident a message, say witnesses

A householder may have been targeted by a gunman after complaints about troublemakers in the area were made at a police meeting only hours earlier.

Neighbours spoke out after several shots were fired at a house and a car in the Friswells Hill area of Pembroke.

Ashfield DeVent, a former Progressive Labour Party MP and minister, who lives on Friswells Hill, said it was possible that the shooting was a bid to intimidate neighbours angry about trouble in the area.

Mr DeVent said: “During the meeting I heard people got pretty vocal and came down hard on the people who were just hanging about, so there’s some belief among the neighbours that this might have been something to scare someone.”

Mr DeVent said it was a miracle no one was injured or killed.

He added: “There were more than enough shots fired that an innocent bystander could’ve got hit.”

One man, who asked not to be named, said: “I was inside watching TV, then all I heard was ‘bang, bang, bang!’.

“I came to the front door, looked out, turned off my light, I came out. There was a bike in the middle of the road and people were firing shots up at the porch.

“They rode off, stopped down a little further, fired again and then they rode off again.”

The man, who has lived in the area his whole life, said young people congregated in the area. He added: “If you got a bad apple in there, and someone’s coming for the bad apple, the innocents are going to have to suffer for it.”

The incident happened on Tuesday night about 10.40pm.

One 83-year-old woman said she was in bed when she heard multiple shots.

She added: “I thought ‘Not again’.”

The woman said: “It is disturbing because last night was the first time that I started to get a little fearful.”

The woman added she moved to Friswells Hill 60 years ago and the area had been largely free of violence until the past few years.

She added: “It’s disturbing when you’re going out during the evening. I used to walk to church, but because people have been loitering you don’t want to walk down there by yourself.”

Another resident who heard the shots said: “What is the solution? When is it going to end? What is it that we as neighbours are going to do to support the more immediate people that are impacted by the gathering of young people there?”

“There’s an elderly woman who lives just along the corner of Border Lane by the grocery store, and she’s wondering what kind of impact that has on the elderly.

“We’re somehow breeding a culture of young men that see no alternative to this. I understand single-parent homes, I understand that we don’t have a perfect educational system, but what motivates a young person to join a gang? That’s the sad part for me.”

She said residents may restore the area’s former neighbourhood association in a bid to combat violence and connect with disaffected young people.

Kevin Simmons, 27, said friends in the area gathered at his home for safety after the incident.

Another 84-year-old woman said: “I knew it was coming soon because of all the activity that goes on around here. It’s getting really disgusting.”

Mr DeVent added the problem needed a “comprehensive approach” from the Government to tackle unemployment.

He said: “I would bet that a large majority of those who perpetrate these crimes have either not graduated from high school or struggling to find employment.

“If young people aren’t employable or can’t get employment they will eventually turn to something else to survive.

“If we continue this type of behaviour and don’t find a solution I can only, regrettably, see it escalating.”

Police confirmed residents had expressed concerns over antisocial behaviour at the Community Action Team meeting.

A police spokesman said: “In the next few days Community Action Team officers will return to follow up with area residents regarding this confirmed firearm incident, as well as their antisocial behaviour concerns, while working with area MPs to identify long-term solutions.”

Police appealed for witnesses and said they wanted to speak to anyone who saw two people on a motorcycle in the area around the time of the shooting.

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said last night that he was very concerned by the shooting.

Mr Caines said that the Bermuda Police Service was using “all the appropriate resources to investigate”.

He added: “I also want to reassure the public that all those who seek to cause disruption will be held accountable, and any actions of violence will be met with the appropriate response.

“Our ministry remains committed to implementing strategies to combat anti-social behaviour.”

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