BLOOD FLOWS IN LAVENTILLE...AGAIN
By DARCEL CHOY Wednesday, October 10 2012
AFTER 28 days of peace, blood flowed once again in Laventille early yesterday morning when 30-year-old Stephon Morris was cut down in a hail of bullets. At about 3.45 am, Morris of Simon Valley Road in St Ann’s, was visiting a friend in Eastern Quarry, Laventille.
Upon leaving his friend, Morris was confronted by two gunmen whom shot him more than 20 times before they ran off. Morris died on the spot.
Morris’ brutal slaying came mere hours after National Security Minister Jack Warner boasted during his contribution to the Budget debate in Parliament, that there has not been a murder in Laventille for the past 28 days.
When Newsday visited his home yesterday, the victim’s uncle Clayton Morris, former football captain of the Trinidad and Tobago “Strike Squad”, said he was shocked to hear that his nephew was the first murder in Laventille after a month of peace.
“I was listening to the radio and heard that the last time there was a murder in Laventille was on September 9. And right after, I got a call that my nephew was murdered...it was shocking,” he said.
Clayton and his mother Alma (Morris’ grandmother) were yesterday sitting on the porch of their home with friends and family as they tried to come to terms with their relative’s death. Clayton said his nephew was a footballer with St Ann’s Rangers and played in the Pro League. On the Soca Warriors’ website it noted that his position in the 2009 Pro League was midfielder.
Alma said her grandson turned 30 on September 30, and used to practice football at the President’s Grounds and at the St Ann’s Hospital grounds. She believed he was probably visiting a teammate in Laventille when he met his demise.
She described him as a loving, caring person who always greeted his family with warm hugs. Morris who was a checker in the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) for more than a year, also leaves to mourn his two sons, both two year olds.
On September 11, National Security Minister Jack Warner gave the order for two army camps to be set up in Laventille to ensure a round-the-clock presence of heavily armed soldiers in that area which has been deemed a crime hot-spot.
Clayton, who viewed the body at the Forensic Science Centre, St James said his nephew was shot so many times his internal organs were shredded by the bullets. He asked that if Laventille was on lockdown, how come two men were able to confront his nephew and fire so many bullets at him. Police recovered 29 spent shells at the murder scene.
“If they had the area on a lockdown how come one person was shot so many times and no one was there to respond,” he asked. Responding to earlier comments by Warner yesterday at a press conference during the lunch break in the Budget debate in Parliament, when he described Morris’ murder as a “PNM murder”, Clayton dismissed this saying, “the death of my nephew should not be a political thing”.
Clayton was captain of the “Strike Squad” who narrowly failed to earn qualification to the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. At that time, the squad would have been under Warner in his role as Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) president.
Owner and manager of St Ann’s Rangers, Richard Fakoory yesterday said his players were saddened by Morris’ murder. Fakoory said he was awakened at about four o’clock yesterday morning, by one of his players, who gave him the sad news.
Morris, who was also known as “Social” among his club mates, was said to be pursued by a group of men before he was gunned down.
Close to tears, Fakoory said Morris last played for Rangers in the North Zone Football Association in 2011. He also represented Rangers at the TT Pro League a few years ago.
“Stephon dropped out the team a year now but represented the team for so long that his name is still known among players. He was a really nice person. He was like a son to me,” Fakoory said.
According to Fakoory, the Morris family played a key role in the formation of the club many years ago. “I am terribly sorry for his mother Pat and his grandmother who played key roles in holding the club together and making it what it is today. They are always doing something for the team. Always praying for the club and its members.” Morris’ mother is currently in the United States, Fakoory said.
Fakoory said he wants the club to do something in memory of Morris. “At present we cannot decide on anything on our own. We have to wait until Stephon’s mother returns so we can talk with her first,” Fakoory said. Up to late yesterday, no arrests had been made in the murder nor any motive established.