Following a high-speed chase that involved law-enforcement
personnel, a Bendals man, Mannie James, was fatally shot,
reportedly by officers from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force
Reports say the 45-year-old man was pronounced dead at the
hospital on Monday night, July 31.
Videos in circulation showing law-enforcement officers trying to lift
the man – after he was shot – and, at one point, dragging him, with
his bare feet touching the road.
They then place him in the back of a police pick-up truck that arrives
on the scene and rush him off – apparently to the hospital.
Some residents are speculating that this rough treatment of James is
what aggravated his injuries and resulted in his death.
However, that has not been confirmed by any medical professional,
James was shot during a joint police-military operation after what is
described as a dramatic vehicle chase through St. John’s, which
started from the northern side of the island.
Reports say that police officers and Defence Force soldiers were
conducting a routine stop-and-search operation on Lauchland
Benjamin Drive, when, upon seeing the lawmen, the driver of a
Suzuki Vitara sped off.
In the ensuing chase by officers, one of the occupants of the Vitara
reportedly jumped from the vehicle and escaped. However, the SUV
kept going, ending up in the Grays Farm area with the Police still in
Media reports suggest that James exited the vehicle in that
neighbourhood, and videos taken by residents show James running
ahead of two soldiers.
On these videos, moments later, a gunshot is heard, and James is
ultimately seen lying on the ground with two soldiers standing over
him – one appearing to check the pulse in his neck.
Why James was running and did not stop, and why the soldiers
reportedly opened fire, are just some of the questions that members
of the public are asking.
State media report that the Police later found the Vitara abandoned
in the Grays Farm area. There is suspicion that a third person had
been in the vehicle, but managed to escape. Accordingly, a search for
the two escapees is underway.
Reports say the vehicle was seized and taken into custody as
investigations into the matter continue.