One man has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a young man and the wounding of another at the West End Sailboat Club on Saturday.
A police spokesman told Bermuda Real that he is not likely to be released on bail any time soon, in the lead up to the two-day Cup Match holiday.
At a news conference held this afternoon, Senior Crime Officers told the media that the fatal stabbing, committed at the wake of another gun murder victim, was not a retaliation or “payback” for another set of gang related violence.
The incident on Saturday claimed the life of 21-year-old Jahkoby Smith, who succumbed to fatal stab wounds inflicted during an altercation that also resulted in another man being stabbed. Police are now conducting two investigations, one for murder and the other for wounding as a result of this incident.
The disturbance took place during the wake being held for 20-year-old Jahcari Francis, who was gunned down on July 19th, in the same house on Upland Street in Devonshire, where Isaiah Furbert, 19, was fatally shot and killed nine months ago.
Police have already stated that their deaths were a direct result of an ongoing feud between two rival gangs – Parkside and 42.
Acting Superintendent Nicholas Pedro said today: “This event was not a retaliatory event that occurred as a result of the death of Mr Francis.
“It is our understanding that the persons involved in the death of Mr Smith, and Mr Smith himself, were associates and friends of the deceased,” he added.
While noting that he cannot “give specifics”, he said the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) “put in place both water borne and roadside measures to both monitor and deter rival factions from causing any harm as a result of the funeral and wake”.
“Investigations lead us to believe that the death of Mr Smith was as a result of anti-social behaviour by persons attending the wake, fueled by alcohol and/or drugs. This behaviour escalated into a full melee, with weapons being drawn, and Mr Smith and another man being stabbed, and tragically Mr Smith lost his life,” said Mr Pedro.
“I would like to reassure the community that whilst this was indeed a senseless death this event was not a retaliatory event that occurred as a result of the death of Mr Francis.”
He also stressed that the BPS “works tirelessly to both prevent and detect crimes of this nature”. Said Mr Pedro: “We are working with the community to reduce tensions, and to catch and convict those persons in our community that cause the most harm.”
During the question and answer period he also confirmed that police have received information that alcohol and drugs were being consumed at the church, during the burial and at the wake which appears to be a dominant factor in the melee that ensued at the West End Sailboat Club.
Both Mr Pedro and Detective Chief Inspector Na’Imah Astwood extended sincere condolences to Mr Smith’s family. Ms Astwood noted that police are following open lines of enquiry and that several people who were at the wake have come forward to assist with the investigations. One of Mr Smith’s aunts also made a passionate appeal for witnesses to give statements to the police in her family’s bid for justice and closure.
She extended the appeal for others and anyone who was in vicinity of the boat club on Saturday, July 29th around 7pm or later to contact the Serious Crime Unit or the confidential and independent Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-6477 (TIPS).