Youth, 16, is charged with Shmaly murder and will appear in court Thursday; residents say adult crime deserves adult time

A 16-year-old male has been arrested and charged with the murder of Syrian businessman Roudi Shmaly on Monday, May 22.

The teenager, who reportedly resides at Fort Road, is expected to make his first appearance before a magistrate on Thursday morning, May 25, to answer to the capital offence.

On Wednesday night, the breaking news of the youth’s arrest was greeted with relief and satisfaction that he is off the streets.  

Many persons expressed the hope that he will not be tried as a juvenile, declaring, “Adult crime, adult time.”  Others were dismayed that a child of that age could have gone so far astray, adding that, rightly, he ought to have been in school, preparing to sit CSEC exams.

Usually, children accused of a crime would appear before the Juvenile Justice Board.  However, according to the law, the Board cannot remand anyone to prison and is excluded from dealing with murder matters.

Reports say the Police charged the boy late Wednesday afternoon, May 24, after intense investigations – which saw at least six people detained on suspicion of murder, after search warrants were executed at their homes late Monday night.

The 25-year-old Shmaly, a resident of Utopia Place on Sir George Walter Highway, was shot and killed during a robbery of the Pick N Mix Mart on Desouza Road early Monday afternoon.

According to surveillance footage, a lone gunman – wearing a multi-coloured, long-sleeved, hooded shirt and with a black mask covering his lower face – had entered the shop and demanded money.  Allegedly, the bandit then went behind the counter and removed cash from the register.  

Hearing the commotion, Shmaly reportedly rushed in from the Chicken Hub restaurant, next door, and was shot by the gunman as he exited the shop.

It is alleged that the accused then ran from the store, leaving the wounded businessman on the floor.

Shmaly arrived at the hospital in an unresponsive condition – with a gunshot wound to his right upper back and a laceration at the back of the head. He was pronounced dead at 1:35 p.m. 

The scene was processed and officers reportedly found one spent 9mm shell.

Reports say that as soon as the assailant’s photo was published on social media, scores of residents immediately recognized the youth – including some who alleged they were his previous victims.  Accordingly, it came as little surprise that an arrest was made so early in the case.

Meanwhile, the Police are thanking the public for its support in this investigation; they are also encouraging persons to continue doing so, as officers make efforts to solve other outstanding crimes.