NASSAU, Bahamas- Bahamas police were bracing for revenge killings after shooters shot and killed six men in a hail of bullets on the street in the capital on Thursday.
Police Commissioner Paul Rolle ordered officers to move into known criminal hotspots to prevent rival groups’ potential retaliatory incidents.
“We understand that these individuals may have been involved with these rival groups, but we want to make sure that there is going to be no retaliation. We are not going to allow that tonight or tomorrow, or the following days onward,
“We will establish a formidable presence to ensure that every household, every member in this city remains safe until we find these individuals and bring them to justice,” he added.
National Security Minister Marvin Dames called the perpetrators “monsters.” They insisted it was time for relatives and friends harboring such people to stand with police to fight the scourge of violence.
Police said that men wearing black, brandishing high-powered assault rifles and handguns ambushed the six men as they drove in a vehicle.
They said a woman and two-year-old girl, who were in a separate vehicle but believed to be related to one of the deceased victims, were critically injured in the gun attack. They were reported to be in stable condition at the hospital.
Media reports describe the killings as the deadliest shooting in recent times. They said it unfolded shortly after the men were released from police custody after being detained on Wednesday for firearm possession.
Police said the men were not all held at the same station, and at least four of them were arrested after an incident at the foot of the old Paradise Island Bridge. The other two were also arrested for similar incidents.
Media reports said that as the six men pulled up to the intersection last evening, the four gunmen in another vehicle jumped out with high-powered weapons and shot at them.
Police suspect it was a gang-related attack, and the murders have pushed the murder toll here to 39 so far this year.
Police said that all six victims were shot multiple times.
Dames said that criminal gangs had disregarded codes that females and children should not be targets in recent times.
“In recent times, we have noticed that it is becoming more and more despicable these persons’ behavior. It shows you the level of disrespect that they have even among themselves that they could carelessly shoot. They don’t care who is in the area or in that vehicle. They shoot, and this is what we have seen, and I think that people need to speak out more.”
“These are the monsters that we would have raised. These are nobody’s kids but ours. We have brought them into this world,” Dames said, while the Police Commissioner urged the population to take a stand against crime.
“The Commissioner is 1000 percent correct. It’s time for us now to play our respective roles as parents and as family members,” Dames said, adding, “we have an idea of what they are engaged in, and it’s a problem when you put an assault rifle in the hands of an inexperienced child. This is often the result of that.”