KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent: – Vincentians on Monday awoke to the news that six citizens had died in violent or tragic circumstances on the weekend, making August the bloodiest month of the year so far.
Bus terminal slaying
On Friday evening, commuters to the leeward (western) side of the country were greeted with the news of the stabbing death of a young man at a restaurant at the Leeward Bus Terminal in Kingstown, the second death there in about four years.
Police in Kingstown say that Kommer Sheen, 25, a labourer of Layou, a town about ten miles west of here, “sustained a stab wound to his chest during an altercation with another man”.
Elmore “Ras-I” Phillips, proprietor of “Ras-I Food”, a vegetarian restaurant at the bus terminal, told I Witness-News he was washing dishes sometime between 4:30 and 5:30 Friday evening when a “small crowd” of young men pushed another backwards into the business place.
He said that the young men were not customers and that it seemed that the altercation had begun elsewhere in Kingstown.
On seeing the commotion, Phillips told the young men that he did not want such unruly behavior at his business place.
Sheen fell backwards onto the floor and the group of men, which Phillips estimated to have been about as many as eight people, proceeded to stab him about his body.
Sheen collapsed outside the restaurant and died and Phillips decried the non-actions of commuters and motorists.
“I learnt something,” he said, “people [are] too wicked,” adding that about 30 minutes elapsed before anyone tried to help the wounded young man.
The Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, the main health-care facility in this country, is located about two minutes’ drive from the bus terminal.
Sheen is the second person to die at the bus terminal, which was commissioned about five years ago.
In 2006, hundreds of Vincentians, paralyzed with disbelief, watched as Shorn Samuel beheaded Stacy Wilson, 22, both of Vermont, an agricultural community west of here.
While police investigations are still ongoing, it is believed that minibus driver and ex-cop Dave Charles, also known as “Kish” and “One Shot” of Cane Grove/Pembroke, killed his girlfriend accountant Debra Shallow, 43, and set their house on fire before killing himself Saturday morning.
Police reports said that the deaths occurred about 4:45 a.m. on Saturday and that the bodies were discovered on the ground floor of their two-storey home at Pembroke.
Fire-fighters found the bodies while responding to a report of a fire, which damaged the lower storey of the house, police said.
One of the couple’s neighbours told I Witness-News on Saturday that she was talking on her cellular phone about 2:15 that morning when she saw smoke and fire rising from the house.
The teenage girl notified her mother who alerted neighbours who then called the fire department.
Information reaching I Witness-News suggested that infidelity might have been a contributing factor to the outcome of the relationship.
A friend of the couple, who lives in North America, told I Witness-News that Charles spoke to him last year July of his personal troubles.
The man said that Charles said that the man “would read about [Charles] in the newspaper”.
“I patted him on the back and told him to forget about that,” the man said, adding, “[Charles] was a very troubled man for a very long time.”
Rick Joseph was the conductor on Charles’ minibus, HR 131.
He said that Charles never spoke of personal troubles during the year and nine months that he was in Charles’ employ.
Joseph said that Charles seemed his regular self up to 5 p.m. Friday when he got off from work.
A resident of Rillan Hill said that she saw Charles driving his minibus in the direction of Cane Grove just before 2 a.m. on Saturday.
A man who saw Charles’ body said that he was shot under the chin.
Two hotel deaths
Police in Calliaqua on St. Vincent’s east coast said that the bodies of labourer Mywando “Tiba” Diamond, 26, of Campden Park and Leslie Ollivierre, 52, of Arnos Vale were found at the Coconut Beach Hotel in Villa about 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
Kingstown police say that both men, who died between 8:15 p.m. on Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday, sustained several injuries about their bodies.
Calliaqua police said that Diamond’s body was found in a room in the hotel while Ollivierre was found to the back of the building.
Police are also investigating the death of Tracy Lynch, a 43-year-old gardener of Layou, which occurred between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. at Layou on Saturday.
Lynch’s body was discovered in the water at Jackson Bay, Layou and it is believed that he drowned.
Post mortem examinations are expected to be performed on the bodies of all six persons.
The deaths last weekend, excluding Charles and Lynch, bring to 14 the number of homicides in this country so far this year.
There were 27 homicides in all of 2008 and police recently said that their tactics had resulted in a decrease in violent crimes in the country this year.
I Witness-News did not know of any statement by the police on the hike in homicides in the country last weekend.
Commissioner of Police Keith Miller was in Taiwan and was scheduled to meet with Vincentians there on Wednesday.