No connection: The North Shore shooting occurred just after Ryan and Edonna Bean got married yesterday but the two events were in no way related. *Photo supplied
No connection: The North Shore shooting occurred just after Ryan and Edonna Bean got married yesterday but the two events were in no way related. *Photo supplied
Gunmen have stooped to a new low by opening fire outside a church shortly after a wedding ceremony.

The drive-by shooting took place after Ryan and Edonna Bean said their vows at the First Church of God in Pembroke.

The couple believes everyone had “a lucky escape”; it was the first of three gun incidents yesterday and it happened as wedding guests made their way to the reception.

Two men on a bike are believed to have been chasing and firing at a man in front of them on another bike. They were travelling west along North Shore Road at about 11:30am.

The bullet bounced off a white Volkswagen car, which had two wedding guests inside. The car was waiting to pull out of the church’s car park in First Church Lane after the female passenger had stopped to buy a drink.

The two women initially thought the bang they heard was the tyre of their car blowing out.

Mr. Bean, 27, said: “We feel very blessed that no-one was injured.

“We look at it as if Saturn is really mad right now. He is trying to destroy the beautiful island and trying to infringe on our own wedding day and our marriage.

“But God is in control and he is watching over us, we remain thankful for that.”

Mr. Bean, a BTC worker, and Mrs. Bean (nee Williams), 33, a government case manager, left the church at about 11am. Their wedding ceremony, conducted by Bishop Vernon Lambe, had started at about 9:45am.

The newlyweds only found out about the shooting when they were having their wedding photos taken outside of Grotto Bay Hotel.

Mr. Bean said it had “not at all” spoiled their wedding day: “All the guests were trying their hardest to keep the shooting from us, they didn’t want to worry us. We ended up finding out when we were having the photos taken, but we thought it was important to keep calm and remain focused on the day.”

The owner of Grannie’s Kitchen, opposite the First Church of God Church, said she “saw the aftermath” when she popped out for a cigarette.

The woman, who is known as Granny, said: “It all happened so quickly, there were two guys on a bike chasing another guy on a bike, we didn’t hear any gunshots.

“The two girls in the car were real upset, they were in total shock, they were shaking. They were lucky, the bullet ricoched off the car.

“At first they thought they’d got a puncture, they thought what they had heard was the sound of the tyre blowing out.

“One of them had just been in to buy a juice then she got back in the car ready to head off.”

The woman added: “It’s scary that it happened here, it makes you wonder what the hell is happening in Bermuda and it certainly isn’t good for business.”

There were only “two or three cars” left in the car park at the time of the shooting. But there were people inside the church cleaning up and 45 children were being cared for in the church’s nursery.

The bullet damaged the car’s bodywork between the windscreen and the passenger side window.

Within minutes police descended on the scene, including uniform and plain clothed officers and forensics experts. Witnesses reported seeing officers “crawling on their hands and knees” looking for the bullet casing.

Ten minutes after the North Shore Road shooting, two men on a bike were seen to be brandishing what looked like a gun at about 11:40am on Court Street.

A 29-year-old man was then seriously injured when he was shot near Art Mel’s on St. Monica’s Road at about 5:30pm.

Premier Dr. Ewart Brown yesterday admitted not enough had been done to tackle gun violence.

He said: “It’s festered, it’s got out of hand. Now we are having to do our best to keep a lid on it.

“I feel our response could have been more forceful and more dramatic and I will leave thinking that.”

Dr. Brown said had gone to the then Governor Sir John Vereker four years ago to ask for help but was “turned down”.

He added: “I wanted to get in there early to stamp this thing out.

“Crime is like a cancer as it suddenly starts exploding and increasing. It becomes such that people get numb, people can’t get shocked every Friday.

“Now people just think it doesn’t matter as long as it’s not me and I keep my children away from it.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Serious Crime Unit on 299-8106 or Crimestoppers at 800-8477.