Relatives: Stop the killings!
By RACHAEL ESPINET Tuesday, August 6 2013
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SHOT DEAD: Pundit Ganesh Ramroop...
STOP the senseless killings.
This was the cry yesterday from grieving relatives of eight persons of 17, who were murdered in the past seven days, a killing spree police sources said, was the worst in recent times.
The scene yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, was one of utter chaos as relatives of the murdered persons walked in and out of the waiting room while others gathered in groups in the car park. All around them, the scent of decaying bodies wafted through the air.
Officials told Newsday 11 bodies were at the centre ready to undergo autopsies yesterday while the remaining six bodies will be dealt with by pathologists during the course of this week.
In seven days, the murder toll rose from 208 to 225 as blood was shed and lives lost throughout the country. For the corresponding period last year, the murder toll was 250.
Relatives of the eight murder victims, had a common theme when they spoke about their deceased loved ones: Stop the killings. Stop the lawlessness. Stop the bloodshed.
The 17th murder victim in this seven-day killing spree was identified as John Pasea, 33, who was shot dead at his San Fernando printery on Sunday night, while his wife Carol Tolkee, 29, and nine-month-old son were cowering in fear at their nearby apartment located above the businessplace.
Relatives said at about 9 pm, Pasea, Tolkee and their son were at their home when they heard a knock at the door of the apartment. Pasea recognised the late night caller and opened the door for him. After a brief conversation, Pasea and the man left the apartment and went into the printery on the ground floor.
Tolkee said she later heard a scuffle from the store and telephoned the police. A short while later, a gunshot rang out. Tolkee grabbed her child and cowered in a corner in the apartment as she spoke on the telephone with police officers.
“It was very hard for me to go through that. Hearing the gunshot and knowing I could do nothing to help my husband...that was very hard,” Tolkee said. She added that an employee who was staying in a room at the back of the print shop heard the scuffle, looked through the louvres and on seeing Pasea with the gunman, panicked and ran off. A white Toyota Yaris was seen parked near the print shop.
That employee later telephoned the police. Officers arrived and found Pasea’s body in the printery.
Relatives of other murder victims including Venice “Vedesh” Chattergoon (stabbed 28 times on Saturday); cousins Michael Jamell Fox and Michael Fox and their friend Shaquille Bishop (all gunned down on Saturday); Sean Duncan (shot 19 times in Sangre Grande on Friday); Pundit Ganesh Ramroop (shot in his car near the Chase Village Flyover on Friday) and Jason Martin who was shot 16 times last Thursday, were all gathered yesterday at the Centre.
Relatives of Shakeel Bethel, who was shot twice on Cipero Street in San Fernando on Sunday were also at the Centre, but declined to speak with Newsday.
Chattergoon, 27, was described by his relatives as a person with “a lot of rhythm” in his life. They said he loved music and enjoyed playing the drum, tassa and any other musical instrument he could get his hands on.
“It’s hard to believe a person could be stabbed 28 times without making any commotion that could have alerted some,” a female relative said. She demanded justice for Chattergoon’s murder.
Family members of the Fox cousins blamed friends for the shooting. Michael Jamell Fox’s mother Suzanne Roberts-Fox said he left the family home in Santa Cruz some years ago and moved to Laventille. She believes her son’s effort to “fit in” with friends led to his death.
“He used to tell me, ‘don’t worry mom, my fiends would take care of me.’ But thanks to these friend, my son is now dead. People always blame the parent, but you can only make a child not their mind...my son made the wrong choice,” she said.
Andrew Fox, 57, father of Jamell’s cousin Michael Fox, described his son as a smart boy, but like his cousin, was led along the wrong path by friends. An hour after speaking with Newsday, an enraged Andrew Fox stormed out of the Centre after viewing his son’s body.
“I don’t want to hear you are sorry. I want the killings to stop,” Fox shouted as he left the Centre.
For Sean Duncan’s widow, who asked not to be identified, all she wants to find out is what he could have done to deserve 19 bullets. Duncan had a six-year-old son, Seandel. His widow said the two were inseparable and Seandel is struggling to cope with losing his father.
“It really hurts. He had a son to mind. I don’t know what Sean did to somebody to deserve 19 shots. He was a good father and his son already misses him,” the woman cried. Duncan was shot while liming with friends in Sangre Grande on Friday.
The children of slain Pundit Ganesh Ramroop, 44, — who was shot dead on Friday — are still struggling to come to terms with his death, their grandmother Soonia Ramroop told Newsday.
Ramroop said her son’s family including his ex-wife Sita Sonnylal are all not coping well following his death. Ramroop said she was particularly worried that the youngest of her grandchildren, Vinod,16, who will be moving up to Form Five when the new school term begins, may struggle in his studies because of his father’s death. Relatives of Jason Martin, 30, were also perplexed as to why he was gunned down.
A female relative claimed that no one in the family was notified by police about his death and they only learnt of it from news reports.
Martin was shot a day before his 31st birthday.