Rueben Rolle is remembered in Bahamian History as their first spree killer; who rampaged through the streets of New Providence with a vengeance.
History, Murder, Death
Rueben Rolle was a Bahamian man who was born on the island of Andros, but worked on New Providence as a carpenter in the 1960’s.
In 1964, Rolle’s marriage was crumbling and by May, his wife Eloise Rolle had moved out of the home they shared and moved in with her sister. Rolle was fed up with the world and fed up with living. On the day of May 20th, though, he was also tired of his wife living.
Rolle borrowed a car from a friend, deducing that walking through the streets of Over-The -Hill with a loaded 16 gauge shotgun would definitely draw attention. He drove to Broome Street and parked in front of the small wooden house that belonged to Winifred Ferguson, who was his sister in law. He exited the car and called out for his wife. It was 8:00 in the evening, so Eloise did not notice the shotgun. As soon as she was close enough, Rolle fired three shots into her. The first shot killed her instantly, and to be certain, Rolle pumped two more shots into her almost immediately.
The loud booms from the shotgun drew the attention of neighbors, and those standing outside drew close to the source of the sound. Winifred ran to her sister’s lifeless body and Rolle fired a shot into her as well. She was blown back towards the porch of her home.
But he didn’t stop there. He got back into the vehicle, and reloaded his shotgun as he drove. A group of men and boys were standing on a corner, near the entrance of a bar. Rolle spotted them as he drove by. The group did not have time to react as Rolle quickly got out of the car and fired at them. A man named Eric Strachan was shot, followed by fourteen-year-old Carlton Sweeting.
William Fernander, who was an ice-cream salesman, was also shot. He died approximately two hours after he was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital. Bursell Fowler and Lodom Woodside were also shot. Woodside died from his injuries the following morning. Additional victims Rudolph Sweeting, Ulrick Sweeting and Francis Sweeting.
Two year old Betty Sweeting was another victim. Miraculously, she survived. A man named Alfred Glinton piled the victims into his car and rushed them to the hospital. The shock of seeing so many in agony may have been too much for Glinton.
Ironically, he collapsed before he was able to get out of his car once he got to the hospital with the injured. He suffered a massive heart attack and died behind the wheel of his car.
Police were dispatched to the Over-The-Hill area to apprehend Rolle, but their actions were in vain. They had blocked off all exits, including Blue Hill Road to Nassau Street to Augusta Street to Shirley Street to Bay Street.
Rolle grew tired of shooting people, but saved one bullet for himself. He went back to his home and shot himself in the chest. He was thirty years old.