Three security guards of Beryllium Limited have been hospitalised in serious condition after they were shot during a brazen gun fight with robbers at the Braeton Parkway Scotiabank in Portmore, St Catherine on Sunday afternoon.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), the security guards were in the process of servicing the automated teller machines (ATM) at the bank when gunmen with high powered weapons and handguns attacked.
“A number of shots were fired [and] at the end of the shooting three of the security officers were shot and injured,” SSP Lindsay said.
She added that the two vehicles which were involved with the robbery are now in the custody of the police after lawmen tracked them to Lakes Pen in the parish shortly after the shooting.
The superintendent told OBSERVER ONLINE that the police, with the help of the military, are carrying out on the ground operations in the area to try and get more information to aid in investigations.
This is the second of such incidents occurring in Portmore in less than a month with the first taking place, a stone’s throw away at Jamaica National ATM at the Portmore Pines Plaza.
Following Sunday’s shooting, SSP Lindsay said investigators are trying to ascertain if there is a connection between the incidents.
“At the moment it is a wide investigation; the investigators are not ruling out anything. The fact that we have two similar incidents, keen investigators would want to examine that as well. Earlier I spoke with the commanding officer and his team and they have made some advanced progress in the first incident so they will just continue the investigation and now they will have to look carefully at this so I know that the team of investigators that are working on this case will be looking at everything at this time,” she stated.
In response to the escalation of armed robberies in his division, St Catherine South Commanding Officer, Superintendent Christopher Phillips said that there is a plan in motion to adjust patrol zones so that officers can respond quickly to acts of crime.
“We have started to put things in place in terms of patrols; we are going to be making adjustments to our patrol zone and focus especially for the business community. I mean two incidents and we are tracking the one in Spanish Town; these are of concern to us. The investigators are basically linking up across the two divisions so that we can really put the pieces together,” SSP Phillips said.
“It is obvious that there is some planning is taking place, some surveillance is taking place and these guys are organising themselves in the type of attacks that they are making. That will inform our deployment going forward looking on the most vulnerable points throughout the division and to have police presence or at least have the police in an area they can respond quickly,” he added.
The police confirmed that the perpetrators of the attack made off with a sum of cash, however the amount is currently not known. In the February attack at the JN bank, the robbers stole almost $10 million in cash. One security guard was shot and killed, while two others were hospitalised in serious but stable condition.