2 POLICEMEN SHOT
By STACY MOORE Wednesday, February 20 2013
ON THE heels of a bloody weekend — in which seven men were murdered — the country yesterday witnessed raw savagery and lawlessness as two policemen were shot while on duty in south Trinidad, a farmer was chased down, beaten and then chopped to death in Couva and a man was gunned down in his car in Arouca shortly after he left the funeral service of a man who himself was killed by gunmen on Carnival Tuesday. (See Page 5A)
And as law-abiding citizens no doubt reeled from the news of these acts of violence and criminality, National Security Minister Jack Warner acknowledged that crime is a major concern for him and the Government but assured that the security agencies will overcome. (See Page 4A)
In the southland, four men were being interrogated last night hours after the two police officers were shot.
Police said Sergeant Hayden Manwarren of San Fernando CID was shot during a struggle with one of four men after Manwarren and other officers intercepted a vehicle in which the four were seen acting suspiciously. The men were believed to be involved in a robbery at a food store in Cipero Street, San Fernando.
Manwarren underwent emergency surgery last night at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) and up to press time, was warded in critical condition.
According to police, at about 4.15 pm yesterday, officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at an eating establishment in Cipero Street, San Fernando. Following an All Points Bulletin (APB), officers of the Southern Division Task Force and San Fernando CID intercepted a vehicle with four men at Padmore Street in San Fernando.
As Manwarren confronted the men, one of the suspects jumped out of their (the suspects) car and a struggle ensued with the suspect taking away Manwarren’s firearm and firing several shots, one of which struck the officer in his stomach. Constable Phillip, standing nearby, was shot in his shoulder.
The four suspects then abandoned their car and ran off in the direction of Embacadere as a massive manhunt which included the use of a National Security Helicopter was mounted. A pistol was later found inside the suspects’ car but Manwarren’s pistol is yet to be recovered.
A party of officers led by ACP Glenda Jennings-Smith and including Snr Supt Cecil Santana, Supt Johnny Abraham, ASP Zamsheed Mohammed, Insp Williams and officers of the Southern, South Western and Central Division Task Force immediately swung into action, locking down all of Embacadere, San Fernando including a landfill and sections of the coast line as they mounted a search for the suspects.
High drama then played out at an apartment building in Embacadere where it was reported that two of the suspects forced their way into several apartments as they sought to hide from dozens of officers who were hot in pursuit.
One suspect was found hiding in Apt 10. His pants and jersey were blood soaked and it is believed he was shot during an exchange of gunfire. He was taken out of the apartment, placed in the back of a police jeep and taken to the nearby SFGH where he was treated and warded under police guard. A jersey was pulled over his head to conceal his identity from the media gathered outside the apartment building.
Officers went out in a pirogue as they searched the seas for the other three suspects. The second suspect was held after he was seen running outside an apartment building. The third suspect, who was the driver of the getaway car, was held in the carpark of the SFGH while the fourth was held last night hiding in Apartment 14, of the same building where the first suspect was held earlier. The suspects are said to be from Princes Town and Tableland.
Residents of the apartment building where the suspects were held, said they were not known in the area. A woman told Newsday, “We do not know these men. They just ran up the steps and hid in the building. Thank God our doors weren’t opened.”
Stella Gomez, 62, of Brooklyn, New York told Newsday she is vacationing in Trinidad and is staying with relatives at Apartment 14. Gomez said she almost collapsed when a man wearing only a boxer shorts stormed the apartment as he tried to hide from the police.
“I live in Brooklyn and am on holidays here. I have never gone through this in all my life...he scared the hell out of me when he stormed the apartment. All I did was grab my pocket book and ran outside,” Gomez said.
It was her screams that alerted neighbours who called over the police officers who were nearby, searching. Other residents hoped that the incident would not give Embacadere a bad name.
“We want people to know that these men are not from Embacadere. They came here to give us a bad name,” a resident said.
Last night, anxious relatives of Sgt Manwarren including his wife Kim and son Keddeal, a student of Presentation College, San Fernando were at hospital, praying for him to survive the shooting. Investigations are continuing.