Brazen attack leaves two dead and a third injured

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An armed and dangerous suspected killer remained on the run up to last night after he allegedly invaded his relatives’ home in Donovans early yesterday morning and shot two people dead and critically injured a third.
The wanted man, as identified by the police, is Calvin “Burger” James, 53, who reportedly killed his niece Tahisha Thomas and her sister-in-law Sanchezca Charles, while he shot his nephew Laurence James in the face.
Thomas, who died in hospital while in surgery at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, was shot once as she tried to flee from her gun toting uncle. While, Charles, who died on the scene, was shot three times at close range, according to eyewitnesses. Charles is originally of Barbuda.
Her boyfriend Laurence James underwent successful surgery for the gunshot injury to the right side of his face but remained hospitalised up to last night.
The wanted suspected shooter, who was only described as “tall and dark in complexion”, fled the scene in a white Nissan Frontier pickup with the licence plate TEEN. It is alleged he stole the vehicle which was parked but not turned off, nearby.
He ditched that vehicle before noon and made off with a white Noah van, C16594, which he also ditched not long afterwards, the police confirmed.
Lawmen did not provide any further updates on the third vehicle that was stolen by the assailant, but confirmed that they recovered and were processing the two that he ditched.
The sisters of the armed man on the run were reportedly taken into protective custody soon after the incident and other family members were advised to find safe places to stay.
Other relatives huddled together and were comforted by friends at the hospital where they remained for several hours. Some said they were still in fear because they believed the alleged shooter would find  and hurt them just as he had reportedly promised to do some time ago.
One individual went as far as to post her thoughts on Facebook, saying, “I’ll never forget Burger’s last words “mi nah tap till mi kill all aru!” & this was 2yrs ago when he had shocked the mother (his sister) with a taser then an hour later chopped the other niece several places about the body. Is just a sad statement, rather worst [you] portrayed [your] words which simply means [you] had everything all planned out.”
That individual questioned how, after being arrested and charged for such heinous crimes the accused was granted bail.
Added to that, after the attacks in 2015, when police went to arrest him, he allegedly opened fire on the investigators and was facing charges for the said shooting.
“How could you even grant this person who is a big threat to someone bail? A person who others feared? Smfh! A person that’s highly armed & dangerous that in result ppl have to end up moving out of their own establishment going into rent houses just so they could feel secure!!! This is just some [expletives omitted] … he has done too many harm to this family. I can’t imagine how [you’re] feeling Ineta, no mother should [have] to bury their child,” the commenter noted.
The social media pages of family and friends lit up with very similar comments being echoed throughout the day.
Thomas’s sister, Destinie Thomas broke her silence on social media after several hours, stating, “Today [Friday] I lost the best sister, there is nothing or no one I would trade you for priceless a gift from heaven and now [you’re] up there looking down on [me]. I keep on telling myself it’s ok but everytime I can’t stop the tears from coming down.”
While, Margaret Smith, the paternal grandmother of the deceased Thomas, reached out to OBSERVER media in tears, saying she got the shocking news from another relative.
“She usually wakes me up at 6 o’clock so when I hear the phone ring I looked and I don’t see her number. Is my daughter called me and say come quick, arwe a go hospital because Burger shot Tahisha inna she head, and she dead,” the woman said before breaking down. “A me baby she be.”
The woman later explained that she raised Thomas for several years and they had a very good relationship.
She described her as “sweet” and gentle.”
Several relatives said yesterday’s tragedy stemmed from the same land dispute that also sparked the 2015 beating and copping incidents, over which charges were filed against the assailant “Burger” James and the case came up for arraignment just a week ago – on September 25 – in the High Court.
He had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and wounding with intent and the matters were adjourned for a date to be fixed for trial, according to court sources.
According to eye witnesses to yesterday’s incident, the armed man broke into the family’s house and asked his niece, nephew and the nephew’s girlfriend for the same sister he had allegedly wounded three years ago.
Then, when he couldn’t find her, he shot them all, even as they tried to flee to safety.
One resident said a child was also in the house but was not hurt.
Thomas’ boss at the National Archives, Acting Director Esther Henry, said she was still in great shock up to late yesterday afternoon. She said staff at the archives are also shaken.
“It is a very emotional time for us … I see her smiling even now. Ms. Thomas was very professional in carrying out her duties. She was a very diligent worker… She was our Assistant Archivist,” Henry said.
According to her, the incident affected staff so much they could not work throughout the day.
“On behalf of the staff of the National Archives we express our deepest sympathies to the family of our deceased co-worker. We will indeed miss her.   May God grant strength to the Archives family as we continue the work of due diligence as she has always portrayed.  She was indeed a very committed and consistent worker,” she said.
Thomas started working at the Archives on the Government’s job program in 2014 and was officially placed on the non- established staff list as Office Assistant in 2016.
At the time of her death she had just been promoted to Assistant Archivist and had become an established worker.
From all accounts, Thomas was loved at home, at work and had a social circle of supporters who pushed her to keep achieving greatness.
And just a day prior to her killing, she had reportedly confirmed to her boss that she was finally getting to start her degree in Accounting in January 2019 after she was accepted for September this year.
Meanwhile, in a post on the Barbuda Channel Clitfon Francois Facebook page, the pastor wrote, “I want to take this time to pray strength to the family of Sanchezca Charles and all in Barbuda at this time. When tragedy like this happens in Barbuda it is not just the family that feels it but the entire island. The life of a young promising daughter of the soil was cut short today. I pray that we will seek the strength of God and His grace to see us all through. We look to God from whence cometh our help. May the immediate family be strong in this your time of loss. Our prayers are with you. Apostle Clifton Francois.”
Last night, lawmen still had not caught the man who allegedly ended her life, seriously injured her boyfriend and also killed his sister – all of which occurred in less than five minutes just as the sun rose shortly before 6 a.m.
Given that he is considered armed and dangerous, the police are warning residents not to make any attempts to approach “Burger” James if or when they see him, but to instead contact the Rapid Response Unit at 764-2348 or 464-3938 or to call 911.
An appeal has also been given for him to surrender himself at any police station with his attorney or any family member immediately.

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