Trinidad: Relatives claim cops fatally shot unarmed businessman

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Trinidad: Relatives claim cops fatally shot unarmed businessman
Larry Simon

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Relatives of a Palo Seco businessman, who police shot dead on Thursday, are calling for a murder investigation as they said police killed an unarmed man.

Larry Simon, 30, died from a bullet to his head near his home at #9 Road, Palo Seco. According to a report, South Western Division police went to Simon’s home around 11 pm to investigate a report of a robbery. When officers called out to him, he approached them with a blade. Despite instructions from the officers to drop the blade and surrender, he continued advancing and an officer, fearing for his life, fired a shot at Simon, instantly killing him.

But relatives told a different story, one that includes Simon running for his life and being unarmed when the police shot him. Simon’s mother Lana Joseph told Guardian Media that her son and his girlfriend were asleep at his home and business place when the officers banged on the door.

Recalling a recent shooting in the community, she said Simon was afraid and went outside to see who called. He took a blade with him in case he needed protection. As he walked outside, there were police officers in uniform and civilian clothing waiting for him. “That is him. Kill him,” an officer said, according to Joseph. She said Simon dropped the blade and ran off.

“He ran about 100 feet, even passing through a mosque, in the back of people’s homes and back to the road and they still shot and kill him.” Joseph said.

Undertakers took Simon’s body to the Forensic Science Centre for an autopsy.

The family is calling for an independent investigation into Simon’s death. They said it was only this year that he started selling appliances in front of his home. Guardian Media reached out the South Western Division police’s Snr Supt Brandon John for a comment but was told on two occasions that he was in a meeting.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said he does not comment on reports given whilst an incident is still under investigation.

It’s the second tragedy for Joseph this year. In March, gunmen murdered her elder son Darie Simon while at his fruit shed in St Joseph.

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