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Masked gunman opens fire in Kingstown

Masked gunman opens fire in Kingstown


by Lyf Compton

A masked gunman sent one man to the morgue, a woman into surgery, a wounded man running to hospital and a large group of pedestrians scampering for safety during a daring daylight shooting last Tuesday.

At around 1:30 p.m., along a section of the seawall outside the gates of the Leeward Bus Terminal, where several icebox and vending stalls are set up, Wendel “Grindy” O’Neil of Vermont was hit with as many as five bullets, while his girlfriend, Chauncey resident Jihan Browne, was shot three times.

A man who was hanging out in the same area, Kelvin Isaac, was hit by a shot that grazed his right wrist, right side and chin. He jumped into the sea and when he emerged from the water, he ran to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).

Eyewitnesses say that the gunman, who wore a bandana to hide his identity, emerged from a motor car with what appeared to be a high-powered weapon and riddled O’Neil and his girlfriend with bullets.

Both were rushed to the MCMH, where O’Neil was pronounced dead on arrival and Browne sent directly to surgery. The 28-year-old mother of one son was shot three times, once in her leg, once in her stomach and once in her chest, while O’Neil received gunshots about his body, including one that, from photos, seemed to have penetrated his chest.

Wendel is the older brother of Raphael “Snaky” O’Neil, who was shot and killed in Vermont last Friday night, September 22.

On Tuesday, Sylvina O’Neil, Raphael’s and Wendel’s mother, said that she was in Kingstown organizing Raphael’s funeral when she heard Wendel was shot and killed. She said that she was trying to cope with the murders as best she could.

Lester “Deebi” Richards, the dead men’s father, said that he feels “bad” over the way his sons met their demise, as he never expected them to be killed in such a manner.

He said that they were “alright boys,” but like anyone else, had a few “bad ways”.

“Sometimes a man get bad ways in different things…like follow company and all them thing dey, but he (Wendel) don’t follow company; he is a alright boy,” said Richards.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that he saw Wendel last week, but he spoke to Raphael the same day he was killed and told him to behave himself.

Raphael was released from prison on September 9 and Richards said that he had just started to “walk out”.

The bereaved father also noted that while persons were saying that Wendel was responsible for the Monday, September 25 murder of 35-year-old labourer Irone “G Dog” Bascombe and the wounding of Jason Stephens, alias Godfred Straker, he does not think that was the case.

He said he has no idea why someone would want to kill Raphael or Wendel.

The latest homicide brought the number of persons killed here this year to 32.