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…police say thorough probe underway
Convicted drug-lord Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan said the bullets which cut-down Ricardo Fagundes last weekend on Main Street outside the Palm Court nightclub, were intended for him. And the businessman has accused the Guyana Police Force of foot-dragging in their investigations into the execution.
Speaking at the funeral of the late Fagundes which was held at the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) on Thomas Lands, Khan who has been accused killing dozens of Guyanese during the Phantom Squad era said that he was almost “speaking from the grave” as he emphasised that the gunmen’s aim was to kill him. He also issued a call for President Irfaan Ali to ensure the matter is fully investigated, giving it the same importance as in the case of the Henry Boys case.
Khan said Fagundes has been at his side ever since he was released by the United States authorities and departed to Guyana back in 2018. He described the shooting as an attack on his home and his family as he addressed his close relations with the now dead Fagundes called ‘Paper Shorts.’
Khan said that being at the funeral was especially difficult for him , as he noted that the man died at his side. He said the bullets were mean for him. “Every single one of those bullets were meant for me,” Khan said.
He noted that only God knows how great a tragedy was avoided last Saturday night as he noted that Fagundes’ niece, his (Khan’s) daughter and many other patrons were in the nightclub at the time of the shooting. He said that persons were exiting the club at the time when two men jumped out of a car during the attack.
Khan , who quoted from the Bible when he made reference to Hebrews 9:27, said that Ricardo was not a financially wealthy person, noting that the deceased was well loved and that the man shared love compassionately with others. Khan said the man invested in people, and according to him, while he was in prison, he would call the man and he would offer to look after errands on his behalf such as his daughter’s birthday celebration. ”No matter what he was always there for me, he would never allow anybody to disrespect me,” Khan said.
He said he has received calls from near and far about the late biker’s passing and at this point he zoomed in on the events prior to and after his friends’ death. Khan said he wanted to clarify and gave details into the incident and he noted that around 20:42hrs on the night in question, he along with Fagundes and others went to the Palm Court nightclub.
He said that the assassins arrived at 21:42hrs and parked close to the driver of the Ford pick-up which he drives. He said the men stayed there and at 22:01hrs, Fagundes left to bring the vehicle around to park it in front of the nightclub, noting this is what the late biker always does whenever they go to the location. He said when man approached the vehicle and switched it on from his remote-key, the gunmen were alerted.” And he was mowed down in a hail of bullets, at least 40 rounds were fired,”he said, noting that more than 20 hit the man.
Khan said the car stayed at the scene , which he said was stolen, stayed at the scene for another 20 minutes. He said the gunmen carried high calibre weapons and he noted that a police patrol even passed the gunmen’s car, whom he noted were unfazed when the lawmen passed.
Khan said that the men drove for another 28 minutes , noting that at 22:30, the men drove to the East Bank of Demerara highway, as he noted that they were unencumbered in their movements as no police patrols could be seen. ”At the scene police were there harassing witnesses in minutes and there was one state security vehicle arrived in seconds,” he added, as he noted that the assassination has a particular signature to it, especially in the light of the polices’ posture within the past week following the shooting.
Khan said the Guyana Police Force has not considered giving the shooting a major criminal investigation, as he noted that the car used by the men sat at the scene under 3 close circuit surveillance television (CCTV) cameras.He accused the police of not following the evidence in the matter. “That night the state security apparatuse failed Ricardo and in the past week, the state security investigation has failed him and his family,”he added.
He added that when there is no state security, lawlessness will prevail. He said if the police do not follow the leads and investigate the incident, the hearts of men will become enraged. ”I am calling on the President, Mr President I am asking you to give this investigation the very same investigation that you gave the Henry Boys,” he said as he called for the authorities to undertake an impartial investigations into the incident.
Khan said some police investigators he knows have informed him that they cannot “go near” the incident as he expressed belief that the investigation thus far has been compromised. Khan then said he is angry at the passing of his friend.
Police responds to Khan’s words
The Guyana Police Force noted in a statement following Khan’s statement that from the outset it had stated that the investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of Fagundes have not been compromised, neither has the Police Force failed the victim and his family, as alluded to by Khan.
“This incident is being treated with every seriousness and alacrity spearheaded by investigators of the Force’s Major Crimes Unit. This is a fact of which Roger Khan is well aware, since during the ensuing investigations he has been personally questioned by two ranks of the Unit in the presence of his lawyer; following which he had voluntarily given a written statement,” the police said.
The police said that it had issued a statement on the matter to the public, through the media apparatus and additionally, while it would not be prudent to divulge certain aspects of the investigation, the Police Crime Chief has been updating media operatives as they make contact with him in relation to the matter.
The police also refuted the allegation that members of the Force have been intimidating and harassing family members of the victim and their supporters during the investigations.
The Guyana Police Force is assuring the general public that a comprehensive investigation is being conducted into the death of Ricardo Fagundes and all leads are being followed with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to justice,” the police added.
Khan was jailed in October 2009 for up to 15 years was released in 2019.
Khan was sentenced to a total of 40 years’ imprisonment on three separate charges by US Judge, Dora Irizarry, in 2009, after she accepted the plea bargain agreement he had reached with prosecutors.
However, two of the sentences, 10 years for an illegal firearm possession, and 15 years for witness tampering, ran concurrently with the other 15-year jail term.
In addition to the jail time, Roger Khan had to undergo supervised release for five years although according to the judge, he is to be deported. Khan was also accused of executing competitors in the drug trade.