at Brickdam Police Station
Brandishing a handgun wrested from one of his victims, Solomon
Elijah Blackman, formerly of the Tactical Service Unit (TSU) of the
Guyana Police Force, went on a rampage at the Brickdam Police Station,
in an incident that is eerily evocative of the workplace shootings by
postal employees a decade ago.
Two Constables, Kester Cosbert, the first person to be shot by the
assailant, and Royston Paddy, who was injured while jumping through a
window in a bid to escape the onslaught, were treated by medical
personnel and sent home.
Blackman, who was brought down in his murderous rampage only when
another Policeman shot him in the thigh, is under Police guard at the
By this time, pandemonium had broken out in the Station and screams
of pain and dismay filled the air.
Eyewitnesses explained that the terror and confusion eased somewhat
after a Policeman shot Blackman in the thigh and pulled the revolver
out of his hand. The ordinary activities of the Police Station were
temporarily halted and the area in front of the Station cordoned off
as the cops set about getting their wounded comrades to the Georgetown
Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
And in another wry twist of fate, the vehicle transporting the
mortally wounded Griffith to the hospital collided with another car,
which reportedly ran a stoplight at the corner of Middle and Camp
Tension was high at the Brickdam Police Station yesterday with
visibly upset officers milling around inside the compound and vehicles
scuttling in and out. Long after 14:00 hrs, scores of curious
onlookers still thronged the grass verge outside the Station
exchanging bits of information and expressing astonishment over the
Lachana’s mother, his wife Rohini and his 12-year-old daughter
were the first members of the victims’ families to arrive at the
When the news of Lachana’s death reached them, they began to weep
uncontrollably as by-standers looked on with deep sympathy. The
Lachanas then demanded to see the body of their loved one. They were
taken away in a Police vehicle shortly afterwards.
A very solemn atmosphere prevailed at the home of the dead Lance
Corporal when the Chronicle visited later yesterday.
His wife, who was obviously and understandably distraught, refused
to have any lengthy conversations with the media.
She however said that her husband was 39 years old and was the
father of one, 12-year-old Samantha, a student of the Brickdam
Secondary School. Lachana joined the Police Force in 1988.
When Griffith’s wife arrived at the hospital, she was informed
that her husband had been shot and was in a critical condition.
Unfortunately, Griffith succumbed to a gunshot wound to the left
side of the back and died as a result of blood loss at approximately
When the news of his death reached his wife, she immediately began
wailing and had to be consoled by relatives and other Police officers.
All efforts had been made to resuscitate Griffith, but they had
failed, said Dr. Madan Rambarran, Director of Medical Services at the
GPHC. Dr Rambarran was speaking at an emergency press conference at
the institution later in the day.
He also noted that the staff at the hospital responded well to the
emergency and were quite equipped to handle the situation.
Yesterday afternoon, when the Chronicle visited the home of
Assistant Superintendent Richard Griffith at Lot 35 Middle Road, Mc
Doom, East Bank Demerara (EBD), relatives and friends of the Griffith
family had already gathered to offer their sympathy to his grieving
Between bouts of weeping, Mrs Griffith, 49, explained that her
53-year-old husband had spent four months in the United States last
year, and had planned to migrate to that country when he retired from
the Force in a couple of months. Griffith joined the Police Force in
The father of Ian, 30, Griffith was described as a “nice man, who
was always easy-going, and who was never involved in any problem with
Mr. Griffith said that her husband left home in a jovial mood
yesterday morning to take his grandchildren to school before
proceeding to his desk at the Brickdam Police Station. It was the last
time she saw him alive.
The family lamented that is was difficult for them to understand
how one man was allowed to cause such uproar and mayhem at the
Brickdam Police Station.
Even as the Chronicle was speaking to his wife, Griffith’s
sister-in-law, Ms Janet Thomas, arrived at the home, and upon hearing
the news of senseless slaying, began wailing uncontrollably.
Friday, March 5, 2004