Trinidad: Nine murdered during Easter holidays

Trinidad: Nine murdered during Easter holidays
Fabian Thomas

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — De­spite a po­lice-en­forced Red Alert and a man­date for in­creased po­lice vis­i­bil­i­ty, there were nine mur­ders over the long East­er week­end.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia tab­u­la­tion, the mur­der toll jumped to 160 af­ter eight peo­ple were shot in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents over the past four days.

Five of the vic­tims were shot in one night in four sep­a­rate in­ci­dents be­tween East­er Sun­day and Mon­day.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice re­ports, the in­ci­dents oc­curred in Tu­na­puna, San­ta Cruz, La Hor­quet­ta and Laven­tille.

Two peo­ple were shot dead at Mor­gan Lane, off Pash­ley Street, Laven­tille, on Sun­day night.

The vic­tims, a man and a woman, were not iden­ti­fied by po­lice up to late yes­ter­day. They were found af­ter a car crashed at the side of the road with the en­gine still run­ning. The man was slumped over the steer­ing wheel while the woman’s body was on the road­way just out­side the pas­sen­ger’s door. Both bore mul­ti­ple gun­shot in­juries, po­lice said.

In an­oth­er in­ci­dent, po­lice re­port­ed that Kh­elon “Kokey” McLeod, was shot and killed at the sa­van­nah at Achong Trace, Tu­na­puna on Sun­day.

Around that same time, Fabi­an Thomas was shot and killed in San­ta Cruz.

Lat­er that night, at around 2 am, po­lice say 36-year-old Patrick Aaron was shot and killed at Phase 4, La Hor­quet­ta.

On Sat­ur­day, 28-year-old Mari­ba Su­perville was gunned down in Care­nage.

Ear­li­er that night, four peo­ple were stand­ing at the cor­ner of Queen and Nel­son Streets, Port-of-Spain when a gun­man opened fire at the group.

The three vic­tims were iden­ti­fied as Javon Ass­ing, Is­rael Cox and Aria Haynes.

The fourth, Akeem Grant was in­jured but re­mained ward­ed in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion up to yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the four vic­tims were stand­ing on the cor­ner around 6.46 pm on Sat­ur­day when a ve­hi­cle pulled up and the front seat pas­sen­ger opened fire be­fore es­cap­ing on foot.

All four were tak­en to the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal where Ass­ing and Haynes suc­cumbed to their in­juries on Sat­ur­day.

Po­lice say Cox died at the hos­pi­tal on Sun­day while Grant re­mains ward­ed at hos­pi­tal.

On Thurs­day, the TTPS moved its polic­ing sta­tus back to Red Alert say­ing that alert would re­main in place un­til to­day.

That Red Alert sta­tus came af­ter the TTPS con­duct­ed its ex­ten­sive Op­er­a­tion Strike Back ex­er­cis­es across the nine polic­ing di­vi­sions, ahead of the long East­er week­end.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the TTPS, of­fi­cers ar­rest­ed 161 per­sons in con­nec­tion with var­i­ous of­fences, in­clud­ing shoot­ing with in­tent, pos­ses­sion of firearms and am­mu­ni­tion, nar­cotics traf­fick­ing, house­break­ing and lar­ce­ny dur­ing a se­ries of raids.

The ex­er­cis­es which took place from Sun­day to Wednes­day were led by Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith and su­per­vised by ACP Crime and Op­er­a­tions, Re­gion­al ACPs and di­vi­sion­al com­man­ders.

In re­sponse, Grif­fith com­mend­ed his of­fi­cers for their sup­port of the Red Alert ini­tia­tive and said that “every sin­gle of­fi­cer” was out dur­ing the East­er week­end.

“There is a 10 per cent re­duc­tion in homi­cides and yes that is a turn­around but every time there are two mur­ders in a day we can­not be ask­ing what is hap­pen­ing. It is tak­ing time to put things in place,” Grif­fith said.

“Had it not been for the Red Alert, who knows what the toll would be,” he said.

Grif­fith re­it­er­at­ed the need for in­tel­li­gence-dri­ven polic­ing and said that the en­tire TTPS is cur­rent­ly un­der­go­ing a re­struc­tur­ing to bet­ter serve the pub­lic.

“We will be able to pin­point, tar­get and pro­file the per­pe­tra­tors,” he said.

Grif­fith promised to de­liv­er more de­tails on his plans in the com­ing days.


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