Police are to boost their presence on the streets and use their stop-and-search powers after a gunman fired into a crowded bar in the early hours of yesterday.
Chief Inspector Na’imah Astwood said that members of the public could expect high-visibility police patrols in the wake of a gunshot being fired at the busy Docksider bar on Hamilton’s Front Street.
Ms Astwood added that people “should not be surprised if stop-and-search powers are being used”.
She said that police had not ruled out a gang-related motive for the incident.Ms Astwood was speaking yesterday after an unknown gunman fired through a window of the bar and a bullet hit the ceiling.
Reed Young, managing director of Docksider, said: “The incident itself was unrelated to any patrons that were in the establishment at the time.
“Unfortunately, it seems the individuals being targeted were in proximity to Docksider and ran into Docksider to seek refuge.”
The shooting incident happened just after midnight and Mr Young said staff were co-operating with a police investigation.
No one was injured in the attack.
Mr Young added: “The police have been provided with CCTV footage from our state-of-the-art system.”
He said: “This is the first incident in 25 years of operation that comes even close to this level of seriousness.
“It has come as a complete shock to our staff and patrons alike.
“We are co-operating fully with the police and hope the perpetrator will be brought to justice and dealt with accordingly.
“We are thankful no one was injured.”
Mr Young added: “We do not, and have never, condoned antisocial behaviour and will strive to make Docksider the safe establishment it has always been considered.”
Ms Astwood said police were investigating the possibility the shooting might be related to an incident on Reid Street over the weekend in which a 34-year-old man suffered knife wounds after a brawl outside the Vasco Da Gama Club.
Ms Astwood added: “We are not ruling out anything. It may be connected, it may not be connected.”
She added: “But naturally, as a police service, we do respond to incidents that happen, hence why we are saying to members of the public to be aware that we may be using stop-and-search powers and we may be in areas in high-visibility patrols.
“We do not wish for this to escalate.”
Videos posted on social media channels showed what appeared to be bullet holes in the ceiling of the restaurant.
A compilation of Snapchat clips also shows the road in front of the bar closed off by police.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said in a statement last night: “Bermuda has enjoyed a relatively peaceful period for six months, with no gun violence since November 3, 2017. Therefore this matter is particularly disheartening.
“The Gang Violence Reduction Team is actively engaged with community stakeholders, implementing an holistic strategy to eventually eradicate gang violence and all related behaviours.”
Mr Caines added: “The Bermuda Police Service are actively investigating this matter. Reducing and ultimately ending gun violence is an ongoing challenge and we will continue to focus our time, resources and attention to this effort.
“We do not want our safe spaces such as social clubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other public spaces put in jeopardy. We want Bermuda to be a safe place to live and have fun, for residents and visitors alike.”
Michael Dunkley, shadow national security minister, said the incident was “shocking”.
He added: “The island is now at the start of what is predicted to be a busy tourism season by air and sea.
“Meanwhile we continue to work hard to promote Bermuda around the world as a place to visit and do business.
“Shocking incidents like this, and any gun violence, have the potential to harm all the hard work and impact in a negative way every Bermudian.”
Police have appealed for witnesses.