NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Philip Perpall,52, a veteran Officer of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) was shot and killed early Sunday morning while on duty at Government House.
Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling was not at Government House when Sunday’s shooting occurred, police told the media yesterday.
According to police, Perpall, an RBDF Petty Officer and Guard Commander at Government House, was shot by a lone gunman who entered the premises shortly before 3 a.m.
The gunman fled the scene, but police confirmed that a person of interest is in custody.
Meanwhile, after failing to immediately notify the press after Sunday’s tragic shooting, top-ranking police officials joined by National Security Minister Marvin Dames and RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel held a press conference at the Central Detective Unit on Sunday afternoon.
Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson disclosed that a male accessed the premises of government house where he proceeded to the guard house and opened fire.
“The Guard Commander was sitting in with another marine while others were on break. The male, with a hand gun, opened fire on the Guard Commander, hitting him several times before fleeing the premises,” Commissioner Ferguson revealed.
He added that the gunman was pursued by alert marines but he was able to escape.
“Paramedics were summoned and pronounced him [Perpall] dead at the scene.” Commissioner Ferguson said.
Commissioner Ferguson also confirmed that no other officers were shot, but he would not confirm or deny if a fellow RBDF marine is believed to be responsible for yesterday’s shooting as reports have alleged on social media.
Ferguson said the investigation was in its preliminary stage and it was too early to formulate a motive.
RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel described Perpall as a hardworking officer who has left an indelible mark on the Force.
“He was a peacekeeper and served in Haiti in the United Nations Mission,” Bethel said.
“He was a part of the team that adopted a cemetery for the British Legion; that was a reflection of his heart.
“He was hard working, dedicated and committed, and certainly earned the respect of his peers.
“This has come across as a real blow to the members of the Defence Force and has ricocheted throughout the Force and there will be a need for healing.”
National Security Minister Marvin Dames said the incident has highlighted the need for government to do more to secure government buildings.
“Effective immediately, I have asked the Commodore to take a look at these places and assess the need,” he said.
“This is the world we are living in today. You open your newspaper [and] every day you see it [tragedies] happen on a daily basis in the work place and we are not immune from it. What do we learn from it?
“It is unfortunate that it took this incident to bring the public attention to this [lack of security],” Dames said.
The National Security Minister added that the ministry will be taking an “in-depth look” to find out exactly what has transpired as it relates to Sunday’s shooting incident.
“We want to know what happened, why it happened
and if there were any breaches or failures to address those aggressively,” Dames said.
Perpall’s death pushed the country’s murder count to 22 for 2019.