Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie described the Sunday morning shooting death of Police Constable Dean Yearwood, 24, by another police officer, as “a great tragedy” and has ordered both a criminal and an internal investigation.
Whylie made the remarks at a media briefing on Monday at Police Precinct #2, formerly the Raccoon Street Police Station.
The Commissioner also announced that the police officer responsible for shooting Yearwood, PC Glen Wayne Grant, 32, who was off duty at the time of the incident, has been placed on administrative leave. The department is also looking into how it can get counselling for him, “because, he still has to live with the action that took place.”
Whylie said that he has also directed the Director of Training and the Commandant of the Police Training School to look into the existing protocols governing the use of firearms by police officers.
“We also have to find ways to identify officers when they are off duty,” Whylie added.
Crimes Investigation Branch (CIB) officers visited the site at the corner of Nargusta Street and Central American Boulevard around 1:05 a.m. Sunday, where they saw Dean Yearwood lying on the street.
A man who has been identified as Brian Vasquez, 21, was also seen lying in a nearby yard. He was suffering from a gunshot wound to his back.
Yearwood was shot once in his back. A doctor at the KHMH pronounced him dead at 2:05 a.m.
According to police, PC Grant was riding his bicycle on Central American Boulevard around 1:00 in the morning when he heard a gunshot and saw two men in a scuffle. One of the men was armed with a handgun.
Grant, who had his police issued 9mm pistol with him, reportedly fired several shots at the two men.
It is unclear, however, if it was a bullet from Grant’s gun that hit Vasquez in the back.
Police said that they would have to do ballistics tests to determine if the bullet that hit Vasquez was fired from Grant’s weapon.
Vasquez, a resident of #11 Mopan Street, has been admitted to the KHMH in critical, but stable condition.
Police said that their initial investigation reveals that Vasquez was in the process of robbing Yearwood, not knowing that Yearwood was a police officer.
Yearwood was wearing a 3⁄4 jeans pants and a white T-shirt.
When Yearwood pulled out his service .38 Revolver, a struggle ensued between him and Vasquez for possession of the gun.
Police reported that Scene of Crime technicians recovered (11) 9mm expended shells, which were apparently fired from Grant’s Beretta pistol, which still had five rounds left.
They also recovered Yearwood’s .38 Special Revolver, which had four expended shells lying next to his body.
Commissioner Whylie told reporters that he is not sure if the police will charge Vasquez for any robbery related offence, since his intended target (Yearwood) is dead and cannot file a complaint. Vasquez, it appears, was not carrying a gun.
Commissioner Whylie assured the public that the police will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.
He said that following the police investigation, the file would be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice.