Unarmed man shot by cops dies 12 days later; friend left paralyzed

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A 39-year-old Festival City, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown man died at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on Thursday twelve days after he was shot four times by ranks of the Guyana Police Force.

Cecil Sampat was club hopping with a coworker, 27-year-old Winston Fraser who is now paralyzed along with Joshua Letlow and Seon Greenidge on July 25 when Police opened fire on them.

Relatives told the News Room that the four friends were in motorcar PYY 4432 which Police mistook for a car used in a recent robbery at Eccles, East Bank Demerara.

But according to a Police report the ranks had dispersed a crowded bar at Agricola, during which there was a fight between two men and one of the men was armed with a handgun. The armed man subsequently entered PYY 4432 and as such the ranks began trailing the car.

Paralyzed: Winston Fraser

However, the police vehicle had some mechanical issues and the ranks contacted other patrols in the city and notified them of the situation. Sampat and his friends were intercepted on Durban Street when police began shooting at them.

No weapons were recovered from the friends.

The shooting occurred at 01:33h. Both families of Sampat and Fraser are calling for justice, following the gruesome and wrongful shooting of the men.

Sampat’s sister, Erica Tuluram told the News Room that initial reports from the doctors at the hospital revealed that her brother was shot three times, however a post mortem conducted on Friday showed that he was actually shot four times.

Sampat was shot to the lower back, the bullet entered his abdomen shattering his large intestines and severed his rectum; the second bullet entered the right rib and punctured his lungs; he was also shot twice in the right leg which was broken.

“He was on oxygen from the time he was shot until he died,” a tearful Tuluram said.

Tuluram said she visited the Brickdam Police Station when she learnt her brother was shot.

“I got nothing from them, they give me the royal push around,” Tuluram said.

The car the men were in (Photo taken from Stabroek News)

Tuluram said there are also major discrepancies with the report of the Police on what really transpired.

The family was able to obtain CCTV footage of the shooting.

“The security camera showed 01:33h he was shot but he never reach to the emergency until 03:30h, only then the police took them,” Tuluram explained.

Letters requesting a thorough investigation were sent to the Commissioner of Police, the Head of Impact Base Unit stationed at Brickdam Police Station and the Head of the Police Complaints Authority.

“We had to take these steps because the Police are not telling us anything, it is now almost two weeks and the Police is yet to issue a formal statement,” Tuluram said.

Tuluram further told the News Room that the day her brother was shot he and the three men were drinking at a bar in Agricola when the police patrol arrived and told everyone to leave.

“When they were driving coming to town, they notice the Police vehicle behind them so they didn’t figure anything was wrong and said the police vehicle was coming back to town and then they said the police vehicle disappeared,” Tuluram stated.

After arriving in the city, Sampat and the others were driving around looking for other places to continue drinking. When they couldn’t find a place, Sampat suggested that they go home. It was while they were heading towards South Ruimveldt that they were stopped by the Police on Durban Street.

“The Police came in front of them, they exited all four doors and they just started opening fire on the car,” Tuluram said.

Sampat was described as a very easy and fun loving person. He was employed at John Fernandes Ltd for 21 years.

“Up to now I am still waiting to hear somebody say something bad about him…he was just quiet, all he does is smile,” Tuluram said.

Meanwhile, Winston Fraser’s wife, Nikita during an interview with the News Room highlighted that 17 police ranks were placed under close arrest after the shooting. The wife said she spoke with outgoing Regional Commander Phillip Azore who confirmed that the men were shot wrongfully.

“He [Azore] told me he had arrested the 17 officers since the stories were misled and he do apologize that they were shot wrongfully and it is under investigation at this time,” the wife said.

Fraser, who also worked at John Fernandes is now paralyzed. Doctors said it impossible for him to ever walk again. He was shot twice to the stomach and the back.

“He is currently not able to feel from the waist down, he had a surgery to remove bullet fragments that was around his heart and he still has the bullet lodged in the spine,” the wife said.

“I do hope that we get justice since we already lost a friend and I do hope Winston gets the justice he deserves.”

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