Berbice cambio dealer shot, robbed again
-bandits flee with $1.2M
Heeralall and his son Jaipaul at the hospital yesterday.

A West Coast Berbice money-changer was shot in his left leg by four bandits who made off with $1.2M during a robbery around 8:45 am yesterday at Rosignol.

And the car the bandits escaped in is being held at the Fort Wellington Police Station along with the driver as police continue their investigations.

Fifty-three-year- old Heeralall, called 'Seed', received three wounds to his upper thigh and one near his ankle. He was rushed to the Fort Wellington Hospital and X-rays showed that no bullet was lodged in the leg. After being treated he requested to be discharged.

This is the second time the money-changer was attacked and shot by bandits. Last October Heeralall, from Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice, received a gunshot wound to his right leg when he and his family were terrorised and robbed of a large quantity of money and jewellery at his home by four armed men.

After being shot in the Saturday night attack on October 29 the cambio dealer was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital while the bandits escaped with around $2.3M in various currencies and $500,000 in jewellery.

In yesterday's attack, one eyewitness, a roadside market vendor, said she was `gaffing' with Heeralall when two men came and stood next to him and she assumed they wanted to change money.

She said further, "One more came from a nearby street and then another one came from behind and pulled a gun out from a black plastic bag and shoot 'Seed'." She recalled that two other men fired shots as well and when Heeralall fell they shouted "Gimme de f--bag," and grabbed it and run.

One bandit got away through the street he came from and the others ran about three blocks away while firing shots in the air. The woman said the men escaped in a car that was driving towards them and they headed in the direction of Georgetown.

Roadblocks were set up near the Fort Wellington Police Station but when the bandits caught on to this they turned back and escaped down the Guysuco Estate dam at Bath.

The driver of the dark grey AT 192 Toyota Carina, PJJ 7292 told police the bandits had "stuck him up" and he was not part of the gang.

"He was on the dam about 200 yards from the public road and when police approached the car he came out with his hands in the air and said 'don't shoot'", police told this newspaper.

A police statement last evening said an operation involving additional ranks and tracker dogs has since been mounted to arrest the other suspects who are thought to be hiding out in the backlands.

At the hospital, Heeralall recounted that he was standing on the road when he heard something that went "Bam!" He said, "Ah din realize I was shot until more shots started firing and I fell to the ground. Then they grabbed the bag with the money." He said he is going to get out of the cambio business.

His son, Jaipaul Heerlall who is also a money-changer said, "I was standing about 100 feet away when I heard something went off like when a bicycle wheel blow away. When I looked back I saw my father on the ground."

Jaipaul told Stabroek News that when he realized there were bandits he ran for safety with his cash. "When I went back on the road my father had already gone to the hospital but I saw his bag strap on the ground."

Meanwhile, another man of Rosignol received injuries when he fell out of a police vehicle while trying to assist them in identifying the bandits' car.

He told this newspaper he was in a minibus that was taking Heeralall to the hospital when he saw the bandits' car turn back. He decided to stop at the station and inform the police of this when the vehicle pulled off hurriedly and he fell in the process.

In recounting what happened at the scene, the man said he was coming "through the market street when ah heard three gunshots that sounded like squibs. But ah said wah! This is not Christmastime; whey dat coming from."

He said he ran towards the sound but the only thing he saw was the car pulling off and "the big man lying on the road."

The man said he pulled off his shirt and strapped Heeralall's legs and he, along with another man, lifted him into a minibus to take him to the hospital.