Trinidad gang war spirals out of control again

Trinidad gang war spirals out of control again

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — The in­crease of mur­ders and gun vi­o­lence in the Sea Lots, East Port-of-Spain and Care­nage is now be­lieved to be di­rect­ly linked to the on­go­ing gang ri­val­ry be­tween two main gangs—the Ras­ta City and the Mus­lims.

How­ev­er, po­lice in the Port-of-Spain and West­ern Di­vi­sions fear that the lev­el of the vi­o­lence is in­creas­ing to lev­els where women and the in­no­cent are be­ing sense­less­ly killed in at­tacks to send “strong mes­sages” to those on ei­ther side of the turf war.

In the lat­est killing in Sea Lots, se­cu­ri­ty guard Nigel Fran­cis­co, 52, was killed at his Pi­o­neer Dri­ve home yes­ter­day, hours af­ter six mem­bers of his fam­i­ly were forced to pack up their be­long­ings and leave the area be­cause of threats made against their lives.

Ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions, Fran­cis­co’s mur­der was di­rect­ly linked to the dead­ly dri­ve-by shoot­ing on Feb­ru­ary 3 at Pi­o­neer Dri­ve, Sea Lots. It is be­lieved he was killed be­cause gang mem­bers sus­pect­ed he was an in­former.

A res­i­dent from the area was ar­rest­ed by po­lice of­fi­cers who re­spond­ed to the crime scene, but there was no con­fir­ma­tion up to press time on whether the man was de­tained in con­nec­tion with Fran­cis­co’s mur­der or oth­er un­re­lat­ed in­quiries.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port, at about 10.30 am res­i­dents heard sev­er­al gun­shots com­ing from Fran­cis­co’s house. The po­lice were called in and of­fi­cers lat­er found Fran­cis­co on his liv­ing room floor. He is be­lieved to have been shot sev­er­al times about the body by a high-pow­ered weapon.

Po­lice said they were al­so told Fran­cis­co’s mur­der was linked to the Feb­ru­ary 4 mur­der of 31-year-old moth­er of two Tra­cy Julius-Rogers, who was gunned down out­side her Sea Lots home less than 12 hours af­ter a dri­ve-by shoot­ing which claimed the lives of Rawle Williams, 37, and ca­lyp­son­ian Patrick Lewis the night be­fore. The at­tack on a group of men which claimed Williams and Lewis’ lives was said to be a failed hit on com­mu­ni­ty leader Cedric “Burkie” Burke, who es­caped un­hurt. Sub­se­quent to Rogers’ mur­der, it was said that she was killed be­cause she was an in­former and was be­lieved to have been the per­son who in­formed the shoot­ers where the group of men Burke was lim­ing with were the night be­fore.

While res­i­dents strong­ly be­lieve the first at­tack was a hit on Burke, he him­self has said it was not. Rather, he said peo­ple in the Sea Lots com­mu­ni­ty were peace­ful and it is they who were un­der at­tack.

Guardian Me­dia was again told yes­ter­day by Sea Lots res­i­dents that they are un­der at­tack and there seems to be no pro­tec­tion for their lives. One res­i­dent, who wished not to be iden­ti­fied said: “This is a sad re­al­i­ty that we have to live with. I born and grow right here and this shoot­ing and mur­ders have be­come a nor­mal thing that we have grown ac­cus­tomed to.”

In a six-minute video that was re­cent­ly re­leased on so­cial me­dia by a mem­ber of the Mus­lims gang, a male voice named three peo­ple, in­clud­ing Burke, al­leg­ing that top politi­cians were afraid of them. The man dared the po­lice to stop pa­trols and re­move the mo­bile units in the Sea Lots area so that his co­horts could go in­to the area to kill cer­tain res­i­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources, the crime and gun vi­o­lence es­ca­lat­ed when a well-known in­di­vid­ual from John John, whom po­lice said is a high-rank­ing mem­ber of the Mus­lims gang, was re­leased for prison. Of­fi­cers de­scribe him as “high­ly in­flu­en­tial” and “very dan­ger­ous and fear­less, brazen in his acts.”

But po­lice yes­ter­day said they are fever­ish­ly work­ing on in­tel­li­gence and will be “flush­ing out the gangs through­out T&T, not just in the Port-of-Spain ar­eas.

Just last week, Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith said he met with Burke in Sea Lots and a gang mem­ber from Laven­tille to send out a stern warn­ing that all gang lead­ers and mem­bers were be­ing marked, mon­i­tored and will be brought to jus­tice if they are found en­gaged in il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties. Grif­fith al­so re­mind­ed them that no turf, no com­mu­ni­ty and no streets be­long to any gangs.

At the Sea Lots scene yes­ter­day, sev­er­al po­lice of­fi­cers from sev­er­al units, in­clud­ing In­ter-Agency Task Force, Homi­cide, Besson Street Po­lice Sta­tion, re­spond­ed.

The Los An­ge­les Po­lice De­part­ment’s (LAPD) as­sis­tant spe­cial agent Robert Clark was al­so tak­en to the scene briefly. Clark and an­oth­er col­league, homi­cide de­tec­tive Cedric Wash­ing­ton, are cur­rent­ly in T&T aid­ing the lo­cal po­lice on gang vi­o­lence ini­tia­tives.


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