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Businessman killed with own gun by bandits

Gangadeen Khedoo

Two cutlass-wielding bandits shot and killed a businessman with his own gun yesterday morning and then robbed his family of some $300,000 and the firearm.

Musaff Yusuff

Gangadeen Khedoo called (Ramesh) of the New Diamond/Grove Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara was chopped on the head before one of the bandits disarmed him and shot him in his chest. The 43-year-old collapsed in his kitchen unconscious and subsequently died without regaining consciousness.

Police visited the scene and took statements from the family, but have not been able to arrest anyone. A post mortem will be done today.

The early morning murder has rocked the small community which is already plagued by incessant petty thefts and other robberies. Many businesses closed their doors yesterday in solidarity with Khedoo who was an executive member of the area policing group.

When Stabroek News visited the housing scheme, scores of relatives had gathered at the dead man's home offering words of comfort to his relatives.

Fatal spot: Ramdularie Khedoo, the sister of murdered businessman, Gangadeen Khedoo points to the spot where he was chopped and then shot dead by two bandits yesterday morning. (Ken Moore photo)

Khedoo's sister, Ram-dularie Khedoo, recalled that around 1.30 yesterday morning, Khedoo was in his bed sleeping, while his wife, Kissondai and daughter, Julie were outside watching television and the couple's two sons, 18-year-old Thakur and 10-year-old Doodnauth were out at a fair.

Stabroek News was told that Kissondai got up to go to the bathroom and as soon as she approached the door she saw a movement inside the room. The woman later saw a hand moving a towel which was hanging on the bathroom door.

Realising that it was an unwelcome visitor, Kissondai slammed the door and went back into the living room informing her daughter about what she had seen. The 20-year-old went to peep and then further secured the bathroom door. The bandits had gained entry into Khedoo's yard by scaling his side fence and climbing up on the rear verandah where they opened two windows to enter the bathroom. There was bullet hole on one of the windows.

Khedoo was woken from his sleep and told about the intruder by his wife and daughter. Arming himself with his licensed firearm he emerged from his bedroom still dazed from sleep.

As he advanced to the bathroom area, his wife went downstairs to summon help, but when she got there she realised that she did not have the keys to open the door. All this time Julie was still sitting in the living room. Stabroek News was told that as soon as Khedoo got to the bathroom where the bandits were one of them pounced on him and chopped him on his head.

Despite the injury, Khedoo managed to wrestle with the cutlass-wielding bandit who succeeded in disarming him and who then shot him in his chest. Ramdularie said during the scuffle, the watchman said he became aware that something was happening upstairs and he ran outside the yard summoning help. Kissondai who at this time was still downstairs said when she heard the gunshot she thought it was her husband who had shot the bandit.

Ramdularie related that once Khedoo was shot, the bandit who struck him called in his accomplice and the two turned their attention to Julie, who was left transfixed on the chair after seeing her father being shot. The bandits bound the young woman, while demanding that she hand over the family's money and jewellery.

"Wheh de cash and gold deh, open up this door, open up this door," one of the bandits commanded pointing to Thakur's bedroom which was closed. According to Ramdularie, Julie insisted that she did not have the keys for the room and also told them that they did not have money. The bandits began to beat the young woman slamming her into the wall before she finally volunteered to hand over $300,000 which she collected from her father's room.

The robbers also grabbed four cellular phones and Khedoo's car keys. They ordered Julie to open the back door and then fled somewhere behind the scheme. Ramdularie said when the bandits left Julie began calling out to her father, but received no answer. Khedoo was rushed to the Georgetown Hospital by his son and another relative, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

About fifteen minutes after the bandits had fled the watchman resurfaced with a few men but they could not catch them.

Police were also summoned to the scene, but by the time they arrived the bandits had completely disappeared.

Khedoo who moved into the scheme two years ago operated a general store. His relatives said his business had attracted petty thieves in the past and only recently one was sentenced to three months in prison for stealing a bag of cement from him. Khedoo, a father of three, was described as a kind-hearted person who was deeply involved in community activities. He is survived by five other siblings.

Meanwhile, Eric Benjamin, deputy chairman of the Diamond/Grove Housing Scheme Policing Group said the death of Khedoo was a heavy blow to the group and the community. Benjamin said he was informed about the murder around 3 am yesterday, and a few members were mobilised and proceeded to search, but did not see anyone.

Benjamin admitted that his group did not patrol every night because of a lack of vehicles. He said petty robberies were very rampant in the scheme and despite stepped-up police patrols things had not changed. His group, he said, had received several death threats and now with Khedoo's murder, members would become fearful.