Four minutes of hell - Guard recalls how robbers attacked team

March 22, 2023
One of the security guards injured in Sunday’s robbery in Portmore, St Catherine.
One of the security guards injured in Sunday’s robbery in Portmore, St Catherine.

One of the Beryllium security guards who were ambushed by gunmen on Sunday in Portmore, St Catherine, said survival instincts and military tactics gained from his 19-year stint in the army enabled him to survive the nearly four minute onslaught.

The robbers made off with $10 million in cash after overpowering the quartet who had just arrived to service an automated banking machine. Three of the four security men were shot and injured and remain in hospital. The attack took place less than 200 metres from where two other Beryllium guards were shot while performing similar duties three weeks ago. One guard was killed.

Steve* told THE STAR that it was a desire to stay alive that allowed him to act decisively even as gunshots pierced the cash-loaded van and its occupants.

"A just instinct, enuh. Then same time mi just start memba mi JDF training and say to myself say 'yo, dem nah get my three points right yah so, enuh'," he said. "Mi just manoeuvre myself inna di van, a fire back while shot a fire so pon mi... and after it cool dung, mi see say dem a jump inna dem vehicle so mi a say dem gone. Mi never even bother hesitate, mi just drive out wid the other youth (security guard) and head to the hospital."

The army vet said the vicious and coordinated attack has not daunted them from returning to work when their wounds heal. Steve shared that he got shot while he was inside the van.

"Mi end up a try go over the embankment and got stuck, and a so dem start fire pon di van," he said. At this point, Steve said he was not totally preoccupied with one of the gunmen who was creeping up towards his window from behind.

"So mi just fire some more rounds and as him ease off mi move up go underneath the drive-through teller side and was able to pick up one a mi colleague," said Steve. "Mi never know weh di next two (guards) dem deh. Mi not even know how me come out to be honest, but mi see when dem grab the money bag and run off."

The ordeal serves as a motivation to the team who are also calling out for more support.

*name changed to protect identity

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