One of the victims of Wednesday night’s church yard armed robbery at Sharon, St Thomas is having a hard time making sense of the attack.
Sharon Moravian Church organist Carl Ifill and Pastor Ezra Parris were attacked by three masked gunmen in the car park of the church about 7:30 Wednesday night.
The two church officials had just arrived at the place of worship and, upon exiting the car, Ifill was stopped by a gunman who ordered him not to move. A second gunman stuck the firearm through the car window and ordered Parris to get out.
Ifill was slapped on the head and the attackers took off with his bag containing personal belongings, including his music for Christmas services, house keys, an iPad and a pair of reading glasses.
Still feeling out of sorts, the organist was back at work Thursday, but he told Barbados TODAY it was simply because he needed a distraction.
He said he was disturbed after the attack, and he was worried about the level of crime in Barbados.
“I think it has escalated where people have no regard for people’s property or for life . . . . Here it is, it happens right in a churchyard,” Ifill lamented.
While Ifill said he was distraught and terrified by the ordeal, Parris said the organist remained cool throughout, attributing Ifill’s calmness to his faith.
Parris also expressed concern about the level and types of crimes here, saying the robbers had demonstrated a total lack of respect for life.
He added that the Church was under pressure to “keep their mouth shut” on social issues.
“We are in a time when people are looking at the Church as though it’s a problem . . . or the root of some of societal problems . . . [some Barbadians] believe the Church should carry on with the religion and keep their mouths shut.
“The problem becomes that there is no moral voice. The Church has historically served that purpose of stirring a moral conscience, and with the absence of that . . . you then have a generation that doesn’t have that moral grounding,” Parris contended.
The priest said after the shooting last year in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in the United States in which nine people were killed, he decided to install security cameras at Sharon Moravian Church. He plans to make it a priority following Wednesday night’s attack.
Police are asking anyone with information that can assist with their investigation into the attack to contact police emergency number 211, Crime Stoppers at 1800 (TIPS) 8477, the District ‘D’ Police Station at 4191729, 419-1726, or the nearest police station.
Lawmen have also called on the public to be on their guard during the Yuletide season. Simple safety tips can include:
When parking your vehicle to go shopping, or participating in other activities, avoid parking in remote areas, and park in lit and travelled areas.
When returning to your vehicle, scan the interior of your vehicle to be sure that no one is hiding inside, or that you were not followed.
When exiting your vehicle, scan the surroundings to be sure that persons are not lurking on the outside.
Have your keys in your hand when approaching your vehicle to avoid delays by fumbling and looking for your keys.
Do not resist if someone tries to take your property.
Do not chase someone who robs you, they may have a weapon, instead call 211.