The Bermuda Police ‘Service’ press conference  can be viewed/heard here – the following is an automated transcript of the conference.  BermudaPolice.com do not warranty the accuracy of the transcript which, if the below is to be cited, should be considered and compared with the conference (link above)

  • Deputy Commissioner of Police Na’imah Astwood – nastwood@bps.bm / 441-247-1523 mobile 441-717-0926.

Another tragic incident within our community. About 6.05 a.m. today, another tragic incident within our community.

About 6.05 a.m. today, the BPS responded to a call for service in the area of Scholar Hill, Sandys. Upon arrival, police discovered two unresponsive males. Unfortunately, both males have subsequently succumbed to their injuries. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who are grieving the loss of their loved ones during these very difficult times.

As the Acting Commissioner of Police, I am not only speaking to you as a law enforcement official, but I’m also speaking to you as a member of this close-knit community of Bermuda. I understand the fear and uncertainty that these incidents have brought upon all of us. Please know that the Bermuda Police Service is fully committed to thoroughly investigating and bringing clarity to the circumstances surrounding these incidents.

I want to reassure you that we are working diligently to ensure the safety and security of our community. The well-being of each and every resident of Bermuda is of utmost importance to us, and we are dedicated to providing you with the support and protection that you rightfully deserve. In the light of the recent incidents, I urge the media and anyone utilizing social media platforms to act responsibly and with sensitivity, as families and friends who have lost loved ones are still grieving.

We must remember that premature speculation and misinformation can have serious consequences and hinder the progress of our efforts to provide the community with accurate information and a thorough investigation. To our Bermuda community, I urge you to remain strong and united. Let us lean on each other for support and comfort and understanding as we navigate through these very difficult times.

In a moment, I will hand over to Superintendent Sherman Joseph, who will provide an update on the investigation into this morning’s incident, and then Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels, who will speak to our policing plans within the coming days. Before I hand over, allow me to reiterate that if you have any information that may be of relevance to these incidents, please come forward and assist us in our investigations. Your cooperation is invaluable as we work towards finding answers, seeking justice, and building our Bermuda community.

In closing, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the first responders and all those involved in responding to these tragic incidents. Your dedication is unwavering in the face of these adversities that we have faced within these last few days. We are truly grateful.

Once again, to those who have lost loved ones, you have the Bermuda Police Service’s deepest condolences. Thank you.

  • Superintendent Sherwin Joseph

Good afternoon, Bermuda, members of the media. As the Assistant Commissioner of Police Na’imah Astwood stated, at 6.05 a.m. on today’s date, Wednesday the 10th of July 2024, police received a 911 call concerning two males who were found with injuries on Somerset Road in the Fort Scour area. The two men were taken to KMH, King Edward Memorial Hospital, for medical treatment. However, both men eventually succumbed to their injuries, which we suspect to be gunshot wounds.

I too would like to express my condolences to the friends and family of these two young men. Police officers did attend this location where this incident occurred and discovered forensic evidence which suggests that a firearm incident had in fact taken place. Investigators commenced several actions and continue to pursue numerous lines of inquiry to help us understand exactly what has transpired.

We would like to appeal to anyone who would have been in the vicinity of Somerset Road, Fort Scour Hill area, around 6 a.m. today, to please contact Detective Sergeant [unintelligible], who has been assigned as the Senior Investigating Officer for this incident. She can be contacted at 717-2250 or via email at ddonowa@bps.bm. Persons living with with CCTV in the Somerset, Fort Scour Hill area, please review your cameras. You may have captured material, video, photographs, etc. that may be able to assist us with our investigation. I would ask that you review around the time of the incident, which would be around 6 o’clock, 6 or 5 a.m. If you have information concerning this incident, you may also wish to share that with Bermuda Police Service Community Reporting Portal at portal.police.bm or call the Independent Confidential Crime Stoppers number at 800-8477. Alternatively, you may wish to share information with a police officer who you may already know.

I will now hand over to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Antoine Daniels, who will provide a brief update on what the BPS response would look like in light of this most recent incident.

Thank you. Good afternoon, members of the media, Bermuda.

As you have just heard from both the Acting Commissioner, Ms. Na’imah Astwood, and Superintendent Sherwin Joseph, Bermuda is currently navigating through both an unprecedented and difficult period, having to date experienced seven murders since Bermuda Day, a six-week period.

  • Note @ 6 minutes & 50 seconds into the conference, Daniels refers to – SEVEN murders 

Yet we are only halfway through the second week of July. This violence is occurring at a time when we all should be turning to each other as opposed to against each other, which is a real concern for our small island community.

In keeping with our key mission of making Bermuda safer, we have developed an operational response plan with a number of key themes. The key to being targeting those persons most likely to cause and commit violent acts, and providing community reinsurance. I recognize that some within our community will say that the police response is reactionary as opposed to proactive.

Notwithstanding officers cannot be everywhere all the time, the BPS has placed a heavy emphasis on the point officers in areas where the highest threat is likely to be. We’ve conducted a number of successful pre-planned and proactive operations with huge success in recent months. This includes the seizure of six operational firearms since December.

As we implement these plans, I’m asking residents to exercise patience and restraint as some of the more high visible tactics may impact you as you move about the island. In addition to exercising patience, residents may wish to leave home and work or wherever you may be at the time a bit earlier, as some of these tactics will include traffic checkpoints, the use of lawful powers of stop and search on the pace and the criminal code. There will be increased patrols in the affected neighbourhoods, particularly Northeast Hamilton, Frizzle Seal and throughout Sanders Parish.

There will be teams dedicated to targeting those suspected of committing violence. These plans are likely to be in place up until and throughout cop match holiday. In closing, I take this opportunity to thank those persons who have provided assistance to the police so far.

I implore everyone to play their role in affording these grieving families some closure. In addition to your patience, we are seeking your support. Any information you may have, please share no matter how insignificant you believe it may be.

Please contact the police using the contact details provided earlier by Superintendent Joseph. If you are not comfortable speaking with the police, contact Crime Stoppers as Mr. Joseph stated. Speak to a police officer you know or a friend of a police officer or a friend who may know a police officer.

In closing, I too echo Ms. Astwood and Mr. Joseph in sharing my sincere condolences and I just want to thank the community once again of those persons who have come forward and we’re looking for some assistance in the future. Without you, it’s very difficult to solve these crimes so we’re looking forward to some assistance.

Members of the media, we will now entertain your questions. I ask that you keep them specific to the matter at hand which is the investigation into the events at Scar Hill in the early hours of this morning.


  • Is there a public response to this incident?

As you know, this just happened in the early hours of today. We’ve just recently released the scene. Officers are currently conducting house-to-house inquiries and engaging with the community so it’s too early to say exactly what has been fruitful coming out of that but normally that’s the process that we do in the wake of incidents such as this.


  • Now, you’ve asked people to look at their CCTV cameras. Is there anything particular they should be looking out for? Any particular vehicles that might be associated with this incident?

Well, normally at that time of the morning you would appreciate there’s not a heavy traffic presence.  So what I would say is to look at those cameras and if they see anything, even if they think it’s immaterial, to please contact the police.


  • It was mentioned earlier, sorry this is a slight deviation from the incident this morning, I apologize Gary, but it was said earlier that there have been seven murders. Can it be said now that the incident at South Terrace can be considered a murder investigation?

As we stated on Sunday, we are still in the early stages of the investigation and we have not ruled that yet.


  • Hi, good afternoon. Is there any indication of the age of the victims today?

At this time I’m not really going to go into any of that. Like I said, families are grieving and these are very hard times for them and we are going to give them all the space that they need to process this information.


  • So there was mention that gunshot evidence was found at the scene. Yes. Any indication of how many may have been discharged?

Well, the scene was processed this morning and we are yet to get a final confirmation on that.


  • So this obviously happened quite early in the morning. Is there any indication of why the gentlemen were in the area? Did they have vehicles with them? Did they walk to this area?

We are still in the initial stages of this investigation and I appreciate the public and the media’s interest in this, but as we said earlier, we do not want to be putting out misinformation. We are still pulling information together so we can have an accurate picture to report back.


  • And was it a member of the public who found them?

We had a call into the BPS in and around 6 o’clock this morning.


  • And you did reiterate just the amount of major incidents that have happened in the last couple of days. What else can you do to allay concerns of the level of safety that people can feel?

Well, what I would say is that we had a briefing this morning. We have a command structure that has been set up. Obviously, Mr. Daniels, the acting deputy, has also spoke to the police and plans that are in place, not only today, but leading up to Cup Match. And we are also seeking the public’s assistance.

The police cannot do it alone. We seek the public’s assistance that if they see or know anything to please report it back.


  • Have people been cooperative? Have you had many people call in to assist?

In relation to this incident, I can’t say what has been reported here, but what I can say is that we have had public help. And as Mr. Daniels spoke of earlier, we have recovered firearms, and we have not done that alone. We have done that with the help of the public, and we thank the public for their cooperation. Thank you.


  • TNN News. Does the police commissioner, assistant commissioner, or anyone from the upper brass, top brass, think that with the help of government, believe it’s time to implement more stringent, aggressive stands to counteract this state of violence that we’re seeing?

I didn’t understand your question.

  • Do you think it’s time to change the tactics, get more aggressive, to stop this trend?

Gary, what I would say is that we are governed by legislation. We are governed by laws. And we appreciate that sometimes when these incidents happen, people want to break protocol and go against that. We are law enforcement, and we follow the law.


  • Do we need outside help? To assist with? To assist with.

We have a whole Bermudian community that knows exactly what’s going on in this community. We have police officers that’s here as well. And with your help and the help of the community, we can build back our community.


  • Do we need more officers on the beat?

We never turned down more. But I can tell you this, the officers that we have are very diligent in what they are doing.  The officers that meet around this table that come to work day in and day out, the officers that responded today, they are dealing with the tragedy as well. These are not just officers. These are officers within our community.

These are officers that come from the Somerset area, such as myself. This impacts us all. We are all working hard to come to a conclusion.


  • What we see at the TNN is that in the Western end, the late-term officers are down to men power of two on the shift.

I’m not going to speak to that right now, Trevor. What we are speaking about is the tragic incident that happened here today.


  • Is this gang-related? Does any of these two incidents have any connection?

What two incidents?

  • The June the 7th incident and today.

There is no early indication that they are connected, and there is still early indication that we are still processing the information that’s coming in and still early in the investigation. Thank you.

Any other questions, members of the media?


  • Do police have access to CCTV on the main road in that area, on Scour Hill?

Yes, we do, and we are pursuing that. Thank you. If there are no further questions, thank you, members of the media, for attending and participating in today’s press conference.

 

Author

cop@bermuda.org.uk