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Mar 31, 2000

Former inmate tells about prison shooting

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At the time it was characterized as a prison riot and reported that several prisoners rushed an officer he had no choice but to open fire. One inmate was killed and three others injured. From the time they were hospitalized the surviving men wanted to tell their side of the story, but an incident of drug smuggling forced officials of the Karl Heusner Memorial to ban all visitors, including the press. Today Cecil Gill, who was shot in the leg spoke to news five about his experience. The tale he tells is very different from the previous official version, and even Prison Governor Bernard Adolphus backs up his story.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Today, 19-year-old Cecil Gill manages to get around on a pair of crutches. The former inmate of the Hattieville Correctional Facility was one of four prisoners shot by a prison warder March 17th. The inmates at Maximum Security were protesting the whipping of two prisoners, Neru Smith and Bert Elijio. They were the first to receive corporeal punishment after the tamarind whip was brought back in an attempt to control prison violence.

Cecil Gill

“Well the inmates were just breaking out of their cells cause they wanted them to know to stop lash people and thing, take advantage of people and they don’t really give them food to time.”

Gill says despite reports that the prisoners were shot because they rushed prison warders, Gill says he never saw any inmate physically assault, or even touch, anyone. In fact, he says he was inside his cell when he was shot.

Cecil Gill

“Well on that day, I was standing by my ricket, when prison warders started to fire shots over the whole jail, shot after the people. All of a sudden I got a shot in my foot and I told my cellmate to take me out of the cell.”

“Well the inmates were rushing, but to their cells not to no officer, I don’t see why they had reasons to fire.”

The day of the incident Dickie Bradley, Minister Responsible for Prisons told News Five he was told the shooting was triggered by inmates assaulting prison warders and trying to disarm them. However, Bernard Adolphus, the new Governor of the Prison was a guest on One on One on Thursday night. Adolphus says his investigation indicates that prisoners were shot inside their cell and had not attacked the warder.

Bernard Adolphus, Governor of Prisons

“Some time about 6:45 in the morning, what he was doing is the security check. One of the inmates took a broom and moved the fluorescent bulb and it dropped on the verandah right in front of him and he reacted by pulling out his service revolver and firing three shots, two shots in the confines of the prison cell and there were other inmates in there and that is no go.”

Inmate Cecil Ramos was seriously injured and died on arrival at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Gill, who was serving a 9-month sentence for firearm possession has gotten an early release because he will need medical attention for his leg wound. Two others also received gunshot wounds and were hospitalized.

Adolphus says the prison warder who fired the shots has been suspended from the Department of Corrections.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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