HERO SAVES GIRL, FRIEND
By Alexander Bruzual Monday, October 22 2012
A gunshot wound did not stop Shannol Mahabir from fighting off two armed men when they attempted to rob his girlfriend during a hold-up at a bar she owns in San Juan on Saturday night.
At the end of the brawl, the two men ran off, however, Mahabir, 30, who was shot in the chest, died shortly after. In the aftermath, Mahabir’s girlfriend was unhurt.
Mahabir’s friend Mukesh Ramtharite, 33, is hailing him a hero saying Mahabir saved his life as well.
Ramtharite, who was at the bar during the robbery, also fought with the gunmen and sustained a flesh wound to his upper lip when a bullet ricocheted and struck him.
Still shaken up by the fatal shooting, Ramtharite told Newsday yesterday that he and Mahabir had gone to Ornella’s and Radha’s Bar, owned by Mahabir’s girlfriend, on Don Miguel Road, San Juan, after work to relax, when at about 7.30 pm two men entered, ordering a beer and a cigarette before going outside.
“At about 9.30 pm, after the bar was closed, the two men came back in and ask if they could get another beer. We tell them, no, the bar close, try down the road if anything. Same time, Shannol’s (Mahabir) girlfriend came outside for a short bit, before going back inside. One of the men run in after her, and try to hold her up and was telling her give him the money,” Ramtharite recalled.
“Shannol run in behind him, and then the other man soon followed. I went to help Shannol out and jump into it (the foray). So all four of us were fighting. I end up taking a bottle and hit one of the men on the head. Then they pull out a gun, and fired at us, hitting Shannol in his chest. But he kept on struggling against them. The gunman even had his firearm pointed at me during the fight, and his accomplice was shouting ‘Shoot him!’ but Shannol was able to pull the gun away from pointing at me at the last second, and the gun missed me when it went off.”
He said the gun went off one final time during the struggle, with the bullet hitting the ground near his feet.
“It then ricochet and hit me in the mouth splitting my lip. Right after that the two men just give up and push us back, and run off. Shannol try to run after them but he collapsed on the ground, holding his chest. He watch me and tell me he can’t breathe and that he was going to die, but I tell him, ‘no man’. We call for an ambulance, but up to today they haven’t reached. We call the police too and when they reached a little while later, the officers rushed him to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival, and that was it,” Ramtharite said.
This killing pushes the murder toll to 341, according to Newsday’s statistics. When Newsday visited Mahabir’s home at Mohammed Trace, El Socorro yesterday, relatives were still trying to come to terms with the death of the electrician.
“Right now, we still can’t believe this happened. It is just hard on everyone. He was a quiet and loving person. Always helpful to everyone he met, it didn’t matter if he knew you or not. Simply put, he was the life and light of this little community here, and we will all miss him,” said Sharafat Mohammed, a relative. Mohammed said he wanted the police to capture the men responsible for Mahabir’s death, because their actions have left a family hurting from an unexpected loss of a loved one.
“Look what we have to be doing, preparing for a wake, when just yesterday (Saturday) he was laughing and liming with all of us. People in this country are suffering and these bandits and criminals are just taking advantage of the law-abiding citizens here. With all these crime plans the Government are putting in place things should be getting better, but so far they just seem to be getting worse,” lamented Mohammed.
A party of officers from the North Eastern Division Task Force and the Robbery Squad Unit including Cpl Sunil Bharath and Cpl Taylor responded to the shooting incident on Saturday night. Investigations are continuing.