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By L.K. Hewlett

St. Kitts Reporter

After being on the run from law enforcement since March, Sean ‘Handsome’ Phillip was finally apprehended on Sunday. The Newtown man was wanted in connection with a shooting incident that took place at Manchester Avenue on March 27, 2007.

Phillip had reportedly approached two young men and opened fire while they sat on the verandah of one of the would-be targets early in the morning. It was reported that the persons on whom the gunman had opened fire were uncooperative with police, but that he had run through the same yard after he had shot at them.

Law enforcement authorities had said that previous attempts to apprehend Phillip were unsuccessful as persons were aiding the fugitive by allowing him to hide at their homes. Phillip also evaded capture by bolting through bushes and vaulting fences.

According to a high ranking source in law enforcement, the shooting of the fugitive was ‘definitely justified’.

“Handsome was a man that we knew was always carrying his gun so he was viewed as armed and dangerous. Based on intelligence that was gathered, the officers of a Joint Patrol Unit surrounded the abandoned house where he was suspected to be. When they discovered the fugitive, he was cautioned when the officers identified themselves. Instead of surrendering, he opened fire, releasing two or three shots at the officers who then defended themselves by firing two shots at the suspect,” the official said.

The source said that it was not clear to the officers if Phillip had been hit by the two rounds as he took off running in the opposite direction. After realizing that he could not escape, the source said that Phillip hid behind a hill of bottles and debris. After Phillip was found, the officers realized he was indeed injured and immediately took him to the hospital.

While Phillip was being treated for the gunshots to his abdomen and leg, the officers returned to the scene but after an expansive search they could not locate Phillip’s firearm.

“He received two shots, one in his stomach area and one in his leg. People are saying he was shot four times, but what they may have seen were the two entrance wounds and the two exit wounds. It was being said around town that officers used unnecessary force and shot at him several times. That is a lie, he was shot twice and the medical report verifies that,” the official explained. Phillip was formally arrested and charged for the offence of ‘shooting at with intent’ on Monday. Phillip was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit following the shooting but has since been relocated to the surgical ward of the JNF Hospital.

The law enforcement official explained that it was a part of an officer’s duty to get medical attention for any person that they had injured. He said it was an offence for an officer of the law to stand by and allow an injured person to bleed to death in their custody. An offence of that nature, he said, would be considered murder.

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