PHILIPSBURG–A 24-year-old man stood trial Wednesday as he allegedly fired gunshots at security guards outside St. Maarten Medical Centre’s (SMMC’s) Emergency Room on February 29. Suspect F.T. denied this, but the Prosecutor’s Office held him responsible and demanded three years in prison.
Problems started when three persons injured in a bar fight on Soualiga Road were taken to SMMC’s Emergency Room for treatment by different groups of relatives and friends. The fight allegedly was between members of the Dutch Quarter Gang and Cul de Sac Boys.
The first group arrived at the hospital around 9:00pm and a second group around 11:00pm, the two security guards at SMMC told the Police.
The two groups became aggressive, after which a fight ensued outside the entrance to the Emergency Room. Staff called the Police to calm the situation down, but 30 minutes after the Police had left another injured man was brought in.
The second group then turned to this man, identified as “Marco,” who was sitting in a car in the parking lot. Confronted with the group, the car drove off. Shortly thereafter, two or three gunshots were fired at the entrance, the guards told the Police.
As it was dark, the guards could not provide a clear description of the shooter or shooters, but said they saw two or three persons wearing hoodies.
Police patrols were dispatched immediately and shortly after F.T. was arrested. T. told the Judge he had also been at the bar, but had not taken part in the fight. As his friend Marco was injured he also went to SMMC, but while walking along Welgelegen Road he said he was approached by a car with three “aggravated” men in it.
One of the men, who he knew as “Juliano,” told T. there had been an altercation at the hospital and gave him a hoody, which he was to stash away in the garage where he was working as a mechanic.
T. said he got scared after he found out the hoody contained a firearm. “I panicked, and threw the hoody, the firearm and my T-shirt in the bushes, as I was afraid that someone might have seen the gun when it fell to the ground,” T. told the Judge.
Prosecutor Martin van Nes said that Juliano could not be identified as no address or telephone number of this man was provided by the suspect’s family or his lawyer. In dismissing the suspect’s statements as “totally unacceptable,” Van Nes held T. for the shooter.
The Prosecutor said there was insufficient proof to consider attempted manslaughter proven but said there was enough evidence that the defendant had shot at random at two innocent security guards on duty.
Attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel said her client was the victim of the Prosecutor’s Office’s “tunnel vision” in this case and of bias against her client, as the Prosecutors had been “put under high pressure to solve this case.”
The lawyer claimed her client was innocent and had nothing to do with the shooting. She pointed out that there was no forensic evidence linking her client to the incident. She maintained that her client only had held the gun for a short moment, after which he had discarded the weapon.
She also pointed out that her client had not been arrested in the vicinity of SMMC, but near Paradise Inn on Senna Drive. The Court will give its decision June 15.
Source: Daily Herald
Three years asked for taking shots at Medical Centre security guards