Murder supect ‘Burga’ caught with firearm

Calvin “Burga” James. (File photo)

When wanted doublemurder suspect Calvin “Burga” James was caught yesterday morning, he had a gun and a knife in his possession. But he did not get a chance to use either when an ex-cop closed in on him and detained him until the arrival of the police. While the police did not specify who caught the suspect or how, an official statement from them indicated that 52-year-old James was nabbed around 12:35 a.m. yesterday in the Hermitage Bay area.

Lawmen said “based on information received, an operation was mounted by the police” and the Acting Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney, according to the release, is thanking “the general public for their support and patience during the past months. He also extends thanks to the officers who exhibited great courage, perseverance and commitment during the operation.” The man who made the breakthrough for the police, who had been searching for James since last October, has been identified as Colbert “Gadaffi” Francis.

Police sources confirmed he was once part of a special task force which functioned somewhat like the unit now referred to as the Rapid Response Unit. He was also the head of the St. John’s Police Station at one time. In addition to sources who spoke with OBSERVER media yesterday, former Commissioner of Police Rawlston Pompey made some of the information known on social media early yesterday. Sources further told us that a weak and unkempt, fragile-looking James, offered no resistance when confronted, due to the unexpectedness of it.

And, he allegedly cooperated with Francis until two policemen arrived and arrested him. Francis, who retired about four years ago at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), is said to know the suspect quite well from prior interactions while investigating crimes. The .380 revolver which was found in James’s possession when he was caught was allegedly loaded. Sources said an examination will be conducted to determine whether it is the same weapon that was used to kill his niece, Tahisha Thomas and her son’s fiancée, Sanchezca Charles, and to shoot his nephew, Lawrence James, in the face on October 5 last year.

Since his arrest, Calvin “Burga” James has allegedly given police information about the different areas he had been hiding while he was on the run. Among the areas he hid were Pares, Christian Valley and even in Gray’s Farm at times – not far from where the October shooting rampage occurred. After the shooting, the suspect stole a vehicle and fled the scene, then he ditched that one and took up another. This was repeated at least one more time until the police lost track of his whereabouts.

Wanted bulletins were issued across the region and in several languages as police sought help from their crime fighting counterparts to catch him. A reward of $25,000 was also offered for any information that would lead to his arrest and residents were warned not to confront him since he was considered armed and dangerous. The police did not indicate whether Francis’s bold actions would be rewarded with the cash award. Since his capture, the suspect has been under close guard at Police Headquarters, according to Minister of Public Safety, Steadroy Benjamin.

The minister, who is also the attorney general, said he never doubted the police would catch the suspect and put residents’ hearts at ease while pursuing justice. Benjamin thanked lawmen and the public for their support and for ensuring the suspect was taken off the streets.