Bahamas Former Deputy Speaker Killed In Armed Robbery Near Nassau.

File Photo. Don Saunders was a former Deputy Speaker in the Bahamas legislature. He was killed in an armed robbery near Nassau on Wednesday.
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A former Deputy Speaker in the Bahamas was shot dead Wednesday during the course of an armed robbery in a bar.

This was the 35th homicide in the island chain so far this year.

As the homicide rate was growing in January, the US Embassy in the Bahamas released a security warning and travel advisory that the island nation is currently unsafe for tourists.

It said safety concerns had reached a point of severity where people shouldn’t even try to “physically resist” being robbed.

“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets,” the embassy wrote in a release, also recommending the use of “extreme caution” on the eastern side of the Bahamas’ capital city of Nassau.

As in the case of Haiti, it is believed that many firearms that are smuggled into the Bahamas originate from the United States.

Don Saunders, 49, a former parliamentarian and deputy chairman of the Free National Movement Party, was sitting outside of an unidentified business with several colleagues in Gambier Village — just west of the capital city of Nassau — when they were approached by two masked gunmen at around 9 pm, according to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

When the suspects demanded Saunders and the others he was seated with turn over their cash, “the patrons reportedly panicked and fled for refuge, and as a result, the perpetrators opened fire,” the police department said in a news release.

Saunders was then shot in the upper torso and “showed no vital signs of life by the time emergency medical service personnel arrived.”

The suspects, meanwhile, stole Saunders’ 2014 Nissan Note and fled the scene.

No arrests have been made in the homicide yet, police said.

Later Wednesday night, Free National Movement Party leader Michael C. Pintard officially announced Saunders’ death.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I report the shocking murder of our colleague and friend, FNM Dep. Chair Don Saunders,” he posted on X.

“We are still gathering all of the facts as we come to grips with this tragedy,” he said, offering his “deepest sympathies” to Saunders’ family.

Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis also said he was “deeply saddened” by Saunders’ death in his own social media tribute, as he asked the public to “respect the family and allow them space to grieve.”

Saunders is survived by his wife, Tiffany; a teenage daughter, Danielle, who is an athlete in the US; and a teenage son, Don Jr., an athlete on the upcoming Carifta swim team, The Tribune reports.

He also leaves behind his twin brother and mother, who was on her way to visit him for the Easter weekend when she heard the news.

The politician’s death marks the 35th homicide this year alone, according to The Tribune.

As the homicide rate was growing in January, the US Embassy in the Bahamas released a security warning and travel advisory that the island nation is currently unsafe for tourists.

It said safety concerns had reached a point of severity where people shouldn’t even try to “physically resist” being robbed.

“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets,” the embassy wrote in a release, also recommending the use of “extreme caution” on the eastern side of the Bahamas’ capital city of Nassau.

Sources: New York Post, Bahamas Tribune, news agencies.

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