Sint Maarten police officer Gamali Benjamin killed on duty (Picture: Twitter/@ThinLbracelets) - Credit: Sint Maarten police officer Gamali Benjamin killed on duty (Picture: Twitter/@ThinLbracelets)
Monday, August 10, 2015 - 14:49
Sint Maarten mourns death of police officer
Sint Maarten police officer Gamali Benjamin passed away on Saturday after receiving a gunshot wound to the head while chasing two suspects of a jewelry store robbery. Gamali, better known as Benji to everyone on Sint Maarten, was part of the police force's bike team. According to the police, the bike team is extremely effective in Philipsburg, the capital of the island. Due to the crowded, narrow streets, the bike team is often first to arrive at the scene of a crime. This was also the case on Wednesday, when Benji responded to a reported robbery on the island's famous tourist shopping street Front Street. The robbers fired shots at him when he tried to arrest them. He was hit several times, including in his head. Benji was rushed to a hospital in the Dominican Republic by air ambulance, in the hope that the bullet can surgically be removed from his skull. Unfortunately there was nothing the doctors could do for him. He was brought back to Sint Maarten on Friday. On Saturday afternoon he passed away in the presence of his loved ones. The Police Corps Sint Maarten as well as the Sint Martin society are dismayed and outraged by Benji's death. Many retailers in Front Street closed their shops on Thursday to show solidarity with the officer who regularly patrolled the area. "Everyone knew Benji as an energetic constable and a wonderful human being. He took a step forward where others would hesitate and paid for that courage with his life", the police write on their website. National Police Chief Gerard Bouman also expressed his shock and sadness that Gamali Benjamin had been killed in the line of his "beloved policing". "Our sympathy goes out to his family, his loved ones and his Police Corps Sint Maarten colleagues", the police chief said, adding that they will provide assistance from the Criminal Investigation team to find the perpetrators of the robbery and the gunman who fired the fatal shot. "If Sint Maarten needs any further help to find the perpetrators of this cowardly act, the force may naturally appeal to us."