NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – Bahamas police are bracing for revenge killings after gunmen shot and killed six men in a hail of bullets on a street in the capital on Thursday.
Police Commissioner Paul Rolle ordered officers to move into known criminal hotspots to prevent potential retaliatory incidents by rival groups.
“We understand that these individuals may have been involved with these rival groups, but we want to make sure that there is going to be no retaliation. We are not going to allow that tonight or tomorrow or the following days onward,” he said.
“We will establish a formidable presence to ensure that every household, every member in this city, remain safe until we find these individuals and bring them to justice,” he added.
National Security Minister Marvin Dames called the perpetrators “monsters” and insisted it was time for relatives and friends harbouring such people to stand with police to fight the scourge of violence.
Police said that men wearing black, brandishing high-powered assault rifles and handguns, ambushed the six men as they drove in a vehicle.
They said a woman and a two-year-old girl who were in a separate vehicle, but believed to be related to one of the deceased, were also injured in the gun attack. They were reported to be in stable condition at hospital.
Media reports describe the killings as the deadliest shooting in recent times. They said it unfolded shortly after the men were released from police custody after they had been detained on Wednesday for firearm possession.
Police said the men were not all held at the same station and at least four of them were arrested after an incident at the foot of the old Paradise Island Bridge. The other two were also arrested for similar incidents.
Media reports said that as the six men pulled up to the intersection last evening, the four gunmen who were in another vehicle jumped out with high powered weapons and shot at the victims.
Police suspect it was a gang related attack and the murders have pushed the murder toll here to 39 so far this year.