By a Staff Reporter
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley is promising stern action in apprehending the killers of Sargent Leon Powell, who was killed in the early hours of Saturday morning in his private business place in Newton Ground.
In a press briefing Saturday, Queeley said, the death of Powell drew mixed emotions from him and the men and women of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF).
“I am deeply saddened and totally outraged as we mourn the loss of a very loyal and committed Police Officer. At the time of his death, he was the Subordinate Police Officer in charge of the Stapleton Police District.”
The commissioner added that Sergeant Powell would have given more than half of his life in service to this Federation, to ensure a safe and secure environment for all to enjoy.
Emergency meeting held
“As a result the incident, an emergency meeting was held with Senior Officers of the force to brief them on the progress of the investigation so far,” Queeley said.
Multiple meetings taking place
“Also present in that meeting was Retired Senior Superintendent Colin Pinnock, a consultant from Jamaica, who is currently providing support to the Crime Directorate. Additionally, another meeting was held and the High Command met with all ranks of the Force on Saturday afternoon in St. Kitts and on Sunday, the High Command will travel to Nevis to have a similar engagement there.”
Queeley indicated that Sergeant Powell did not give up easily and the nation will be mourning the loss. “He fought like the brave Police Officer he was known to be. It was said by Chris Cosgriff, Founder of the Officer Down Memorial Page or ODMP that, and I quote, “When a Police Officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an Officer, it’s the entire nation.” And, so I say today that the entire nation is mourning this loss.”
Swift justice promised
He then promised swift justice for the perpetrators of the act.
“These cowards for their own selfish gain and greed have senselessly cut him down in the prime of his life, by brutally killing him. I say openly to the perpetrators of this most heinous crime, that you will find no comfort,” Queeley said.
“I give my commitment here and now that we will hunt you down and flush you out from wherever you are hiding and bring you to justice. I consider this to be an attack on the entire organization and, by extension, the State, and as such we will respond in an appropriate manner.”
He labelled attacks against the police force and crime in general as unacceptable.
“The men and women who have taken the oath to serve this country and knowingly put their lives on the line every day to protect others are held in the highest regard. I have said it before and I will say it again. No acts of violence against them will be tolerated.
“All hands are currently on deck and several teams have worked through the night in an attempt to gather as much information as possible and the work will continue until this case is solved. No effort will be spared in this matter and we will leverage all the resources available at our disposal to ensure that justice is served.”
Queeley noted that they hope to have the matter solved as swiftly as was done with Sergeant Dwight Davis.
“As we saw in the Sergeant Davis case, the public’s assistance in solving these matters goes a long way,” the commissioner said. “This matter was resolved speedily and the perpetrator is now before the court awaiting his fate.
“It is important to underscore the critical role of the public to solving criminal cases. I am urging you to come forward with every bit of information no matter how little or insignificant it may seem.
“Tell us whatever you know. It is also important to stress that the public must also condemn this kind of criminal activity loudly and openly in every forum and not just when it’s convenient to do so.
“Of all law enforcement agencies, the Police are the only one that has to respond to reports 24 hours a day. We are on patrol day and night in your communities. As an integral part of our society, you must all show outrage when this kind of behavior occurs. The public must also be able to show that they stand with us during critical times.”
Assistant Commissioner of Police Andre Mitchell gave the press a rundown of how the incident unfolded.
He said the incident took place at the business premises of Powell.
Mitchell said the motionless body of Sergeant Powell was found at his premises by the responding officers.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police said preliminary investigations revealed that two armed masked men entered the business place, robbed the patrons and then proceeded to rob the sergeant.
“Our deceased colleague resisted and was shot multiple times.
“The scene was processed and a number of exhibits were taken for forensic and evidential value,” Mitchell said.
Four persons in custody
He added that to date four persons are currently in police custody and one shotgun recovered. No one has yet been charged and it is unsure if the gun was involved in the incident.
“We are seeking the public’s assistance for whatever information that may lead to an arrest of the perpetrators,” Mitchell said.
On Saturday, police also issued a wanted poster for a Vincent Taylor who is a “person of interest” in the matter.
The poster reads “a warrant is in existence for the arrest of Vincent Taylor of McKnight for the armed robbery committed in Sandy Point on December 26, 2017. He is also a person of interest in the shooting death of Sergeant Leon Powell. He is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact the violent crime unit by dialing 467-1887, 467-1888, 662-3462 or the nearest police station.”