Prisoner escaped after seeing doctor, convict, guards did not fire first shots

~ Massive investigation launched ~ 

POINT BLANCHE–Authorities have launched a massive investigation into the daring mid-afternoon escape of convicted murderer Kathron “Chuchi” Fortune, who fled after being treated at the office of orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Paul De Windt on Monday and had not been recaptured up to press time.

Both Justice Minister Edison Kirindongo and Prison Director Edward Rohan told The Daily Herald on Tuesday that the first set of shots fired as Fortune was being escorted from the clinic to be returned to the Point Blanche prison had not come from the escapee. The guards were left in shock after the first shots rang out and everyone had been looking to see where the shots came from.

In a separate interview, Kirindongo said the guards had fired back. They pursued the convicted murderer, but “he was nowhere to be found when he turned the corner,” Kirindongo said.

According to Rohan, “The way it happened everyone can be scared. We [the guards – Ed.] will never use our weapons like that and any time we draw our weapons it has to be for a very good reason. The guards know if and when to use their weapons.”

Rohan hesitated to provide too many details of the incident, as a “big” investigation is underway. However, he made clear that no weapons had been taken from either of the two armed prison guards who accompanied the prisoner on the medical visit. Due to the traumatising experience of Monday’s escape both guards have been given “some days rest” to recuperate because “everyone is in shock.”

Rohan said Fortune had undergone a minor orthopaedic operation two weeks ago, and his visit to Dr. De Windt on Monday was a follow-up to “finalise” the medical procedure from the operation, such as removing stitches. Rohan said Fortune had already finalised his consultation with the doctor and was being returned to the prison when the escape occurred.

When asked whether the convicted murderer’s hands and feet had been shackled, Rohan said, “He was shackled on his feet and how those got off I don’t know, but he was shackled.”

Kirindongo said he had been told during his meeting with Rohan that the procedure is for inmates to be shackled and handcuffed when outside the prison.

Rohan said he had spoken to the two guards and heard their accounts of the incident, from which a report was prepared and updated Kirindongo, the National Detectives and other Justice officials on Tuesday. Rohan also was grilled on the matter.

When asked whether mechanisms would be put in place to prevent a recurrence, Rohan said every situation was a learning experience. Although there is no way of preventing such an incident from happening 100 per cent, the matter will be reviewed and “things that can be changed” will be looked into.

Rohan said transporting inmates was a risk and he was saddened by the traumatic experience through which the two guards and the nurse who accompanied the inmate had gone.

“When you’re transporting inmates, we always try to do it as safely as possible, and I understand how the guards must have felt if they failed in the process and couldn’t do anything about it. If someone escapes out of your own hands and you lose them, it is not a nice feeling.

“I know how they are feeling because the guards are good guards and they work very hard. It’s not everyone who likes to take an inmate on transport for medical treatment, because they know it’s a risk, and not many who like to do it, but it is part of the job,” Rohan said.

He also said he was happy that no one had been hurt in the process, including the guards, the nurse and the patients who had been at the clinic at the time.

Kirindongo said he first had learnt of the incident via social media, after which he contacted Rohan and was told about the escaped prisoner. He confirmed meeting with Rohan on the matter on Tuesday.

Fortune, who has a long history with the law, was serving a 21-year sentence for the fatal shooting of Ervin Margarita (23) in Rice Hill in Oyster Pond on May 11, 2006. Margarita was shot in his head and body in what was said to have been a drug-related hit. Fortune also had served sentences in the past for other violent activities.

Authorities urge persons who may have information regarding the escapee’s whereabouts to contact the police immediately via 911, 9300 or the police station at tel. 542-2222. Authorities are warning the public not to attempt to apprehend the dangerous escapee on their own, but to contact the police.

Source: The Daily Herald Prisoner escaped after seeing doctor, convict, guards did not fire first shots