Taxi drivers fear they are being targeted after deadly shootings

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Taxicab Union President Philip Watkins said yesterday there is growing fear among cab drivers that they are being targeted in the wake of the shooting deaths of two of their colleagues over the past week.

A distraught Mr Watkins told The Tribune the murders of Wilton Brown on Saturday and Saintonas Jonas last Wednesday suggest that assailants could be targeting drivers.

"It is strange," he said. "Two in a couple of days? Hardworking men shot down in the manner in which they were. Armed bandits just running up on them out of nowhere to demand cash and then kill them."

According to police, Jonas was accosted by a gunman shortly after he pulled up to a Carmichael Road establishment after 9pm. The armed assailant opened fire, striking Jonas in the head before fleeing the scene in an unknown direction. It was initially reported the incident may have been an attempted armed robbery, however it is unclear if this was the motive.

Meanwhile, in the case of Brown, police said he pulled up to his Refuge Court home in the Hollywood Subdivision, off Cowpen Road, where a car pulled up behind him on Saturday night.

An armed man got out and demanded cash before shooting him and driving off. Brown's children were inside his car at the time.

Mr Watkins, referring to Brown as "a good friend," said drivers in New Providence are now on edge and of the view that they are being sought out and preyed on by criminals who view them as easy and non-combative prey.

"It needs to be clear, we have long been the victims of robberies, I am talking about people walking up to drivers and demanding their valuables while we have people in our cars," he said. "It seems that has taken on a new face in these last two incidents, with drivers being robbed and then shot."

Mr Watkins continued: "(Mr Brown) was shot in front of his home after pulling up with his kids. They say he was asked for all he had and once he handed everything over, he was still shot.

"He worked the docks and the cruise ships for many years where I did. I know he and the driver shot earlier last week were from the Cowpen Road area. We are concerned that these bandits are boldly running up on us like this."

Investigations into both incidents are continuing.

Anyone with information about these or any other crimes is asked to call the police at 919 or Crime Stoppers at 328-TIPS.