Police have collected forensic evidence and have received 12 witness statements as their investigation into the July mass murder in Kingstown continues.
Also, the EC$50,000 reward is still on offer for information that could help police arrest and prosecute those responsible for the murder of the five males in the city.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police with responsibility for crime-fighting, Trevor Bailey, told a press briefing in Kingstown on Monday that there are rumours that the reward has been cashed in.
“That is not so. The reward is still up for grabs,” the senior detective said.
“We are urging the members of society, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to feel free to cooperate with the police and provide any information, irrespective of how slight you think it is.
“No information will be turned away or too small,” he said, adding that while the person providing the information might think it is small, it might be “the piece missing from the puzzle”.
On July 19, five males, including a 13-year-old boy, were gunned down in the Harbour Club area of Kingstown.
On Monday, Bailey presented the most detailed update on that killing in months.
He said that the police have obtained 12 witness statements regarding those killings.
Further, local investigators have received assistance from their counterparts in St. Lucia and St. Kitts.
“A team came in from [St. Lucia] and did forensic examination of the vehicle in question. The team left with what was gathered from the processing of that vehicle and we await the result of the forensic analysis of the exhibits,” the senior police officer said.
Civilian videos of the shooting show at least two people exiting a vehicle and opening automatic gunfire on the four men, who were said to be gambling at the roadside around 8 p.m.
Then there were the sounds of single gunshots, presumably as each of the men were shot in the head, before automatic gunfire opened again before the vehicle sped away.
The teen, a student, was said to have been in the area watching the men while on his way to buy bread and was killed in the gunfire.
Sources in the know have told iWitness News that a law enforcement officer, who was relatively close by, heard the gunshots and was about to respond to the scene when a white SUV in which the assailants are believed to have been travelling, came speeding down the road.
The officer gave chase in his private vehicle but is said to have lost the SUV in traffic after a minibus swung into the traffic at the Peace Memorial Hall — presumably inadvertently — causing the SUV to escape.
Bailey said the local constabulary has also sought the assistance of St. Kitts in further analysis of other exhibits related to the crime.
“The investigation in that matter is very much ongoing,” Bailey told the media.
“So, again, I urge the general public to continue the partnership and I see this relationship as a partnership between civil society and the police.”
Immediately after the shooting, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said law enforcement agencies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would solve the case.
“… we will get to the bottom of this and we will bring the perpetrators to justice,” Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security, said from Morocco, where he was on an official visit.
Also, then police chief Colin John said the mass murder were linked to a 2014 drug deal that caused former allies in the underworld to become enemies.
John said that police intelligence suggested that some of the killings in SVG were linked and the majority of major crimes are committed by fewer than 100 people.
“… less than 100 persons in a population of over 110,000 persons. So that’s a small group of persons. And also, based on our intel, these shootings, the majority of them, they as a result of something that … happened since 2014, where some drug transaction went wrong and then persons who are friends then became foe and then it continued up to today,” John said as he attempted to assure the country that its residents are “generally safe”.
He said police had also received intelligence “about possible reprisals.
“And that is something that we are taking very seriously. We’re also taking this shooting, these fatalities very seriously, as we do with every crime, especially serious crimes within St. Vincent Grenadines,” John said.
After 35 years of public service, John applied for early retirement from the police force in August and proceeded on pre-retirement leave in late September.
There have been an additional 12 homicides in SVG since that mass murder, taking the tally this year to 47 — a record.