Monday, June 5, 2023


The Azario Major Case: What’s the Impact of the Coroner’s Ruling?

Seventeen months after four police officers shot and killed Azario Major outside a business establishment after a reported confrontation, a jury in the coroner’s court ruled the 31-year-old’s death to be a homicide by manslaughter on Wednesday.

The jury reached their findings after three weeks of testimony in the attention-grabbing case involving a police shooting which was disputed in a viral video social media post. Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Cordell Frazier can now decide if his Office will prosecute the officers.

Major was killed in December 2021 after police said he acted erratically, leaving the bar and lounge and then returning to confront officers. His family said they never believed the officers’ account and hired a US private investigator who revealed inconsistencies– none of the gun casings dispensed were from the gun found in Major’s possession; his phone pinged distances away from where the incident occurred and appeared to be deactivated; and only one officer reportedly fired at Major.

During the inquest, the court was told that Major was on medication for a mental disorder and often hallucinated. And that after officers heard, “Gun. Gun. He has a gun!” the four officers fired their weapons.

What’s the impact of the inquest in this case?

The coroner’s inquest is not a criminal trial but it is simply a fact-finding mission about a person’s death while making it public. The verdict is not legally binding and no one involved will be criminally charged, convicted, or sentenced unless the Prosecution Office decides to press charges.  A verdict is read and, after the inquest, the jury usually makes recommendations on how to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances.

Some people considered this case a victory since rarely in the Bahamas, police-involved shootings are ruled a crime. Some have long argued that officers abuse their power and some shootings are not ‘justifiable’ though officers may say they were “in fear for their lives.”

The inquest revealed the officer or officers responsible for his death and compelled them to testify. This case puts every police-involved shooting under close public scrutiny.


What We Know About the Man Killed by Police in Grand Bahama

The man shot and killed by police in Grand Bahama on Sunday night has been identified by family and friends as Daniel Sturrup.

Authorities did not release his identity but say the man put them in fear for their lives when he held two machetes and threw one at an officer.

The man is believed to be in his twenties.

Here’s what we know:

Who is Daniel Sturrup?

Daniel Sturrup is the oldest son of Sharon Sturrup, a teacher at Maurice Moore Primary School, who stabbed her husband Dwayne Sturrup, 47, to death in 2015 at their Heritage home in Grand Bahama, as he slept.

Sharon, diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, is serving time at the Bahamas Department of Corrections.

When she was being charged, she expressed concern for her four children, “What can I do in order not to go to Sandilands?” she asked the magistrate. “I have to prepare my kids for school. I have no responsible person here to prepare them for school. I hopefully would find someone to maintain them while I go to Sandilands.”

Dwayne Sturrup was stabbed to death as he slept. His wife Sharon was charged with his murder.
The children with cousin Jamal Brown (black coat suit) at Dwayne Sturrup’s funeral

What happened the day Daniel Sturrup was killed?

Authorities said Daniel Sturrup was attempting to break into an apartment unit while armed with two machetes. He then threatened that he would kill the police. Though he was instructed to disarm himself of the instrument, Daniel refused, throwing one machete at an officer and charging at them with the other in hand. He was shot, subsequently and died while in transport to the hospital.

Eye Witness News obtained footage of the events unfolding, which showed Daniel atop a balcony with a machete in hand, as police on the ground demanded that he drop it. Daniel stated that he won’t and the police later shot fired six shots. The edited clip does not show at which point the man charged at officers.


What is the family saying?

The family of Daniel Sturrup said it was not a case of burglary but that he was mentally ill. The victim’s cousin, Jamal Brown who is the nephew of Dwayne Sturrup, and lives in the United States, said, “There are deep-rooted concerns about this case and my cousin’s life, that the public is unaware of.”

Brown said the family tried to get mental assistance for Daniel but was told it was not an emergency.

Brown said he will not make an excuse for his cousin’s actions but “as a nation, we must begin searching for healthy solutions to treat those who struggle with mental illness.”

In another post, Brown said he will fight for justice for Daniel and that police are not above the law, calling the police actions “insensitive towards mental illness” with “purposeful intent to harm.”

What We Know About Bahamian Man Shot Dead by Bahamas Police in Turks and Caicos

An alleged criminal wanted in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos was killed in the British Territory in a police-involved shooting on Tuesday morning, after being sought for weeks.

Brandon Rahming, a 33-year old was wanted by the Royal Bahamas Police Force for drugs and firearms and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force for murder, and was plastered on  ‘Wanted’ posters earlier in the month for the criminal acts.

He was labeled a ‘gang leader’ and TCI police offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who knew of his whereabouts.

Rahming was described as 5 feet, 7 inches of slim build, and was believed to have originally lived in Freeport, Grand Bahama, but his last known address was The Bight Providenciales in Turks and Caicos.

TCI Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting said Rahming and others suspected of carrying firearms, were in the Dock Yard area and were “challenged by police officers” who were conducting an operation in the area.

Rahming was shot reportedly by a Bahamian police officer, one of 28 officers deployed to the island nation. He died on the scene.

Scenes from the deadly police shooting in TCI. (Photo credit: TCI Police)

In 2019, Rahming is shown in a picture, dressed in a chef uniform and appeared to work for a resort in TCI. He posted to social media, alluding to a past life of difficulty. “Thank you for my freedom and his guidance and mercy. Through them, I was given a second chance. Only a few know the depths and pain.”

“But hey, we [are] still here, so yes he has more in store,” he said.

It is not known how long Rahming lived in TCI, but police said he frequented the Dock Yard and Kew Town in the British territory, which have become rife with crime.

In October, in a joint effort with TCI police, officers from the Bahamas were deployed to the British territory to assist with controlling crime and murder which spiraled to worrying levels.

It is speculated that criminals are traversing the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, to commit crimes in the neighboring countries.

Botting said an independent review will take place in a few days “from a force within the region.”


Featured Image: The Bahamian man killed by police and TCI’s Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting

1 Man Dies, 3 Escape in Police-Involved Shooting

Corona Jeanine Weech-Gomez visited the scene of the police-involved shooting on Second Street, The Grove where a man died shortly after 12 noon.

The man has not been officially identified but here’s what we know:

  • Police received information about several individuals assembled in the area in possession of a firearm.
  • A description was given to police and when officers arrived and approached the individuals, the 3 individuals ran away while the 4th individual “engaged police and produced a weapon.”
  • Police shot the individual and he died on the scene.
  • Police say they recovered the weapon.

What Assistant Commissioner Solomon Cash says

Solomon Cash says he was not certain if a bodycam was used in the incident and the police do not have a description of the three individuals that ran away.

Cash warned anyone that would engage the police with a weapon, “If you find yourself engaging in criminality and you are confronted by officers, surrender. I can tell you, if you use deadly force at officers, we have to engage you and use justifiable force toward you.”