Penn “Punch” gunned down

GUNNED DOWN – Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the island’s first homicide for the year, after a man believed to be Omar “Punch” Penn was gunned down shortly after 8:00 Sunday (February 21) night. (PHOTO: JAIMIE SMITH)

A man known to police was gunned outside a popular business establishment sometime around 8:30 Sunday (February 21) evening.

While police have yet to officially identify the victim, he is reported to be Omar Penn, aka “Punch.”

When this daily’s team arrived on the scene, there was heavy police presence and a large number of onlookers gathered at the East Sunrise Highway location.

Chief Superintendent of Police, Kevin Mortimer, provided details on what law enforcement officers say might have led to the death of the victim.

“At about 8:30 tonight, the police control room received a call about gunshots being heard in the area of Island Luck. Police responded within minutes. On arrival, officers met the body of a lifeless male lying on the ground, just in front of the Island Luck building, just behind us,” he senior officer said.

As news of the murder made its rounds on social media, many commented that that victim was indeed Penn, however, at the time of the interview Mortimer did not confirm such.

“With respect for the family we would not like to divulge such information at this time, until we have notified the next of kin. Until that is done, we will be more than happy to provide you with the name of the person,” he added.

Questioned whether the police had any leads on a suspect or suspects at the time, Mortimer replied int he affirmative. 

“We have no idea of who the person (responsible) is, at this time. We are in the preliminary stages of our investigation. Once more information becomes available, we will be more than happy to share it with you.”

Asked if there were any appeals the authorities wished to make to the public Mortimer responded positively.

 “Most definitely. This is the first homicide for the year. We want to continue to ask the members of the public to put down the guns; realize that a life lost is one too many. We ask the young men to look at alternative ways, if there are any differences, to settle them other than using high-powered weapons or weapons that can kill.”

Sith the understanding that the victim was well-known, Mortimer was questioned whether police believed there would be some form of retaliation.

“In every incident of this nature, there is always the possibility that there can be (retaliation). We have no information at this time that there will be retaliation; however, we will be up to the task and put the necessary measures in place to ensure that that does not happen.”

As it relates to evidence, he informed that such was being gathered.

 “We have a number of business establishments here and we will be looking at various video footage, to assist us in our investigation. Once that comes into play, we will be well on our way.

“We would like to ask members of the public who would have been in this particular area around that time, to kindly provide us with any information they might. Please assist us by providing that information so that we can bring this matter to a successful conclusion.” appealed Mortimer.

Persons may remain anonymous if they choose when disclosing information, Mortimer added.

As the body of the island’s first murder victim was being placed in the hearse, loud cries erupted in the crowd.

One female bystander screamed out, “Punch, that’s you, for real?”

As mortuary officials drove away with the body, escorted by police guard, police continued to canvas the bloodstained walkway near the entrance of the Island Luck Café.

What appeared to be two alcoholic beverage bottles were also seen nearby.

On the morning of Sunday, April 28, 2019, Penn was shot in the chest at another business establishment, also located on East Sunrise Highway.

Arriving at the Rand Memorial Hospital (RMH) by private vehicle, reports reaching this daily were that Penn entered the local hospital, walking through the Emergency Room wearing blood-soaked clothing, with blood dripping on the floor as he held his chest awaiting medical attention.

On January 28, 2020, Nigel Jamal Forbes was charged in the Freeport Magistrate’s Court for the then attempted murder of Penn.

In November 2018, Penn, who was sitting in his vehicle at the time, was shot in the vicinity of the International Bazaar.

During that particular incident, Penn reportedly drove himself to the RMH, seeking medical attention.

Penn, himself, had a number of run-ins with the law as he was charged before the Freeport Magistrate’s Court on attempted murder and murder charges.

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