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|Three shot in suspected ‘hit’ on ex-footballer with chequered past|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 23:50|
-- two critical in hospital
THREE persons, among them a 30-year-old mother of one, narrowly escaped death Friday night when a lone gunman opened fire in the direction of former footballer, Oriely Small. Small was at the time of the shooting among hundreds of persons who had turned out to witness the Guinness Greatness in the Streets football games, organised by Banks DIH Limited on the tarmac of the National Cultural Centre (NCC).
The woman has since been discharged from hospital, while Small, 28, and 34-year-old Lawrence Wayne were up to press time last evening patients at separate city hospitals.
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle late yesterday from her Melanie Damishana home on the East Coast of Demerara, Chondell Benn, who took a bullet in the hand, said she was selling plantain chips at the time, and as she walked and sold, she heard gunshots and immediately began running, like everyone else at the venue.
She said that as she ran, she began feeling a burning sensation in her left arm, and when she looked, she realized that blood was oozing from it. Benn, who has an eight-year-old daughter, said she immediately began running towards persons, asking them to take her to the hospital.
She said that even her friends abandoned her during her time of pain, as they stood their distance because of the blood that was pouring from her hands.
She said she then decided to impose on a stranger by hugging him up and asking him to take her to the hospital. She said it was then that another friend from the village saw her, lifted her up, and rushed her to a nearby police vehicle. When she was placed in the vehicle, she noticed that another man was already there, and that he too had been shot.
The police then rushed them to the Woodlands Hospital, she said.
Asked about the hospital experience, the woman said that her family had to pay almost $30,000 for her medical treatment. That included seeing the doctor and having her arm cased and X-rayed.
Asked what she thought may have been responsible for her predicament, the woman said she was told that a ‘wanted man’ was in the crowd at the football, and someone had just passed by and shot him at the venue. She said the incident happened just after 23:00hrs on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the injured ex-footballer, who hails from Charlestown and once played with the Beacon Football Club, is said to be critical. Yesterday, when this publication visited the man’s home, his relatives were not willing to comment on the issue.
In investigating the man’s past, the Guyana Chronicle found that he had, and continues to have, a chequered life in relation to his activities. The Guyana Chronicle was informed that the man was recently picked up by the police for a robbery at an ATM location at a city bank. Moreover, this is not the first time the man has sustained gunshot wounds. A few years ago, he was shot after a betting deal at a football game at one of the sports complexes in the city became unpleasant. Following that incident, friends associated with Small then reportedly attacked the suspected leader of the other group that was part of the betting. That man, a city businessman, was beaten severely, and it was believed that his boys were responsible for the shooting of Oriely.
Another case pointed out to this publication was the recent plastering on the front page of one of the dailies of two men on a motorcycle, one armed, after committing a robbery.
This publication was informed that one of the two men in that photograph was Oriely. It is not clear if the police had ever picked up anyone after the publishing of that photograph.
A few years ago, one of Oriely’s close associates was also executed while he sat in his car at a location in the city.
Yesterday, efforts to contact family members of the other man, Lawrence Wayne, who is also hospitalized, proved futile.
In a press release issued by the police yesterday morning, it was disclosed that Oriely Small had been hit to his chest, face and right leg; while Chondell Benn had been hit to her abdomen and left arm. However, that bit of information was not entirely accurate, since Chondell was shot only in the arm, as was evidenced by this publication.
Lawrence Wayne, 34, of Lamaha Gardens, Georgetown was struck to his abdomen.
The police said the perpetrator managed to escape, but their investigations into the matter are still ongoing.
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