Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bahamas: Update--Four Assailants Arraigned in Murder of American Sailor, 34

As a follow-up to my posting of May 14, four Bahamian assailants between the ages of 19 and 28, were arraigned in the Magistrates’ Court on May 16, charged with the murder of American tourist and sailor, Kyle Bruner, 34.

The names of the assailants who played a role in Mr. Bruner's death include: Craig Johnson; Anton Bastian; Jamaal Dorfevil; and Marcellus Williams. All appeared before Chief Magistrate Roger Gómez and were remanded into custody. Collectively armed with a handgun, the four defendants robbed a woman of her green handbag valued at $30 and an iPhone valued at $900. It is also alleged they robbed another person of a black handbag valued at $20, a black iPhone valued at $300, and $30 cash.

Because of the nature of the charges, the men were not required to enter a plea and the matter will be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court via a Voluntary Bill of Indictment.

As a matter of interest, Bastian was further charged with another count of armed robbery, stemming from the April 1, armed robbery of another victim of roughly $1,000 in personal property.

COMMENT: Bruner, the Chicago-based first mate of a tall ship, the "Liberty Chipper," moored in Nassau, was shot and killed in the Bahamian capital on Sunday (May 13) after coming to the aid of a friend who was being robbed.

The incident occurred at 0430 hours while Mr. Bruner was walking north on Mackey Street and approaching East Bay Street with another man and two women when they were approached by two local men who demanded cash from them, one of whom was armed with a handgun. Subsequently, Bruner was shot in the neck when he attempted to stop the assailants from stealing jewelry from one of the women.

Sadly, Bruner had just passed his captain's exam and was scheduled to depart Nassau for Boston

Although it is commendable that Bruner came to the crime victim's aid, the reality is that many criminals in the Bahamas carry firearms and are more than ready to use them against their victims and those who attempt to interrupt them.

As I have emphasized in countless postings over the years, crime victims in the Bahamas should NEVER resist a crime where the objective is personal property (e.g., wallet, purse, camera, smart-phone, money, credit cards, etc.), as NO amount of property is worth our life or lives, particularly considering that many career criminals in the Bahamas carry guns.

The unfortunate part of this case is that given the fact that the assailants were armed, it was a given that the woman who was resisting the armed robbery of her jewelry was going to  be relieved of her property regardless of whether Bruner intervened or not.

It should be emphasized that the US Embassy in Nassau has classified the security threat from violent crime as "critical," which is the highest level of threat used by the US Department of State. 

That being said, after the attack on Bruner, the US Embassy issued another travel warning for US citizens, emphasizing that those traveling to the Bahamas should exercise caution. Actually, the warning should have said: "Don't resist armed robbers. Period," as so many Americans resist armed felons, which is exactly what they should NOT do.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force website reports that during January 1 to April 15 there were 328 armed robberies, 111 robberies, and 660 house break-ins.

Unfortunately, the majority of US citizens fail to read the country profiles on high-risk nations before beginning their trip. This is something they should and must do, so that they are privy to the security threats. Access this information by going to http://www.travel.state.gov