A retired employee of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph company is now hospitalize after being shot at around 21:30hrs last night for upbraiding a gang of armed men (including his tenants) at one of his properties at Melanie on the East Coast of Demerara.
According to witnesses, the GTT retiree whose name has been given only as “Basil” had recently purchased a three-storey property on the Non-Pariel side of the Melanie cinema road, and had rented it out to tenants.
The ground floor of the building houses a supermarket, while the upper floor is rented out to a young woman and a dreadlocked young man.
But in recent times, Basil discovered that his tenants on the upper floor were trafficking drugs, in addition to harbouring gangs and questionable characters on his premises from time to time.
A friend of the man told the Guyana Guardian that Basil who lives several houses away from his recently purchased property made a mistake by letting his tenants know that he was aware of their activities and warned them about a week ago that he will inform the police if they don’t desist.
However, it is said that the tenants and their friends ignored the man’s warnings and had promised to “deal with him”.
Several days later, he realized that the men were still indulging in criminal activities on his premises, and therefore left his home last night and went alone to talk to them.
Feeling annoyed by the man’s admonishment, the gunmen who were on the upper floor of the building fired at least six rounds in the direction of the former GTT employee hitting him in the process.
From all indications, the landlord seemed to have ran for his life before collapsing a short distance away.
The gunmen then calmly went downstairs and retrieved the spent shells before fleeing on foot to the main road where they flagged down an unsuspecting minibus, and headed to the city.
And even though members of the public noticed the men running with guns exposed, they were too afraid to confront them, and simply turned the other way as the men ran through the community.
The injured landlord was then taken to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
Several persons who gathered at the scene last night wondered why Basil would have risked confronting the gunmen alone, and at that hour.
One source claimed that the men had called the landlord to lure him to the location claiming that there was an issue at the property. However, the Guyana Guardian was unable to corroborate this.
They claimed that the men are known criminals and Basil seems to be unaware of this fact, since no one else in the neighbourhood would dare to confront them.
As a matter of fact, the upper floor was said to be rented by the female who brought in the men to occupy the premises thereafter, since the landlord would have most likely not rent it to the men.
Another friend said that Basil had only wanted peace, so he decided that it was better for him to go and have a talk with the gunmen who happen to be associated with the female tenant. But this turned out to be a regrettable initiative.
Several detectives and uniformed police who were on the scene last night conducting investigations, questioned residents, and are now on the hunt for at least two men who may be responsible for the shooting.
The girlfriend of one of the men who was found at the premises last night was also taken into custody for questioning.
Investigations are continuing into the incident.