The Sandy Bay teen who police believe killed four persons in three locations Sunday night, had a history of mental health problems, police said on Monday.
Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Colin John told a media briefing on Monday that the suspect is 18-year-old Jurani Baptiste, of Sandy Bay.
“It would appear as if he has some mental issue,” John said when asked, adding that based on his information, Baptiste was institutionalised for a short period of time.
The senior police officer said that a court had ordered that Baptiste be sent to the Mental Health Centre for observation.
“The time what he was taken, the offence with which he was charged, the doctor gave him a clean bill of health, said that he was fit to stand trial at that time,” John said, adding that he was not sure how recently that was.
iWitness News understands that Baptiste may have been released from the Mental Health Centre as recently as last week.
John said that Baptiste was known to the police.
“He came to the attention of the police before,” John said, adding that this was in relation to damage to property, wounding, assault resulting in bodily harm, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
John said that Baptiste was nabbed by residents of Kingstown Park, where he is believed to have killed his fourth victim, retired nurse, Pamela Williams, 59.
He was hospitalised as a result of injuries he sustained, reportedly during a severe beating inflicted on him by residents of the area.
Police believe that Baptiste killed three other persons and attacked three more, before civilians restrained him.
Police suspect Baptiste in the death of 35-year-old Nicolas Layne of Edinboro, who was murdered along the roadside in Cocoa, Campden Park shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday.
Baptiste is also believed to have killed 75-year-old retired nurse Avis Israel and her son, 47-year-old mechanic, Ronald Israel, of Old Montrose at their home.
John, who is acting police chief, while acting Commissioner of Police Renold Hadaway is overseas, said that the victims were killed in a similar way.
“… all four of the deaths are similar in the way in which they appear to have been committed. Subject to the post mortem, of course, because I am not a doctor, it seems to be blunt force trauma to the head and, in some cases, stab wounds along with the blunt force trauma. So, they bear striking similarities as regard to how they appear to have happened,” he said.
“It appeared that some sharp instrument and a blunt instrument, in some cases, bricks, balusters were found either under the deceased persons or very close to them. So it appears as if these blunt instruments may have been used…”
The deputy police chief said it appears that there is a link between the killings.
“They seem to be quite similar, so that is one theory that we are operating on,” John said.
He said he and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph visited the suspect in hospital and he has a cast on one of his legs and an injury to the other leg and his head was bandaged.
John said that the police are carrying out investigations into the killings and are asking for any assistance that the public can give to solve the cases.
He, however, said that he would not use the term “serial killer” to describe the suspect.
“I would not go that far at the moment. At the moment, he is still a suspect. He is innocent until proven guilty, so I wouldn’t want to make that quantum leap at this stage,” said John, a former Deputy Director of Public Prosecution.