Police in the crossroads town of Gbarnga in Central Liberia are investigating a 22-year-old man identified as James Arthur for allegedly shooting a 20-year-old man, Alphonso Dunbar, in the face with a single barrel pistol. Alphonso Dunbar is the head of the community watch team or vigilante group in his town.
James Arthur, a resident of Margibi County, allegedly shot Alphonso Dunbar on Tuesday, October 28, at Foella Junction in Kpaii District on the main highway leading to Ganta.
According to Police accounts, the suspect employed the service of a motorcyclist, only identified as Remember, to take him (Arthur) to Foella Junction to one of his friends referred to as Junior.
Police records established that as they reached Foella Junction, the motorcyclist demanded that James Arthur pay for his service before entering into any negotiation.
The information further indicates that when suspect Arthur disembarked from the motorbike, he immediately ran into a house which reportedly belongs to the victim’s aunt.
The investigation added that the community residents pursued him through the back of the house and arrested him. They, including the town chief Togbah Paye, began to interrogate Arthur and asked him to open his hand bag to inspect the things that were in the bag.
Police investigations further stated that while inspection of the bag was going on, the suspect reached for his short barrel gun and allegedly shot his victim, Alphonso Dunbar, in his jaw, wounding him seriously.
Police records reveal that this is not the first time James Arthur has been involved in motorcycle theft. Police said suspect Arthur in 2012 wasted hot tea on another motorcyclist in Congo Town, Monrovia and made away with the motorcycle.
When contacted at the Gbarnga Police cell, suspect James Arthur told the Daily Observer that he fired the gun in fear of Dunbar and others rushing at him in a manner that suggested that he was under attack. He said his plan was to hold the motorcyclist at gun point and steal his vehicle. But his plan did failed because everywhere they passed, there were so many people around that he did not think he would have been able to get away so easily.
So, when the motorcyclist decided that he would go no further until he had been paid, Arthur got off and went into the house, attempting to get away.
The suspect told this reporter that he purchased the single barrel gun in Kakata from a Guinean trader whose name he did not mention but that he bought the gun also to protect himself against any criminals or would be criminals.
“I do not have any criminal record. This is my first time being tempted by the devil to get involved in such a criminal act,” said James Arthur, whose statement sharply contradicts the information the police have about him.
He informed the Daily Observer that he was tempted to get involved in motor bike theft because his fiancée, which he identified as Doris, a resident of Congo Town in Monrovia, always tormented him for money, fashion wear and other “fine things”.
Meanwhile, Police have charged suspect James Arthur with attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. He is being sent to court awaiting prosecution.
Information from the Phebe Hospital, where victim Alphonso Dunbar is undergoing medical treatment, suggests that the victim’s condition is stable and improving but that he might need the intervention of a traditional herbalist in order to remove the pellets from his body.