FOUR INJURED IN SHOOTING SPREE
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Monday, August 12 2013
The silence which typically permeates the air on Sunday mornings in the capital city was violently broken yesterday morning as the communities in Nelson Street and Sea Lots were subjected to a “shooting spree” which resulted in four persons being taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for treatment.
There were two incidents that occurred yesterday morning, which kept officers at the Port-of-Spain CID, the Inter-Agency Task Force, and the Besson Street Police Station busy, however, police sources told Newsday they believe the two situations could be linked — and could have even been perpetrated by the same group of persons, as the two incidents occurred approximately 30 minutes apart.
First police reported at about 9am, they received a report of a shooting along Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain.
A police report said Mark Antonio Gibbs, 18, of George Street, Port-of-Spain, Jeremiah Douglas, 30, of Mercer Road, Diego Martin, and Daryl Clement, 49, of Picton Road, Laventille, were liming at the corner of Piccadilly and Nelson streets, when they noticed a dark coloured vehicle driving down the roadway.
When the vehicle got nearer to the group, the occupants of the car pulled out firearms and opened fire on the trio. The vehicle continued down Nelson Street, with different groups of people being shot, resulting in several people scampering for safety.
As quickly as the attack began, it ended, as the vehicle drove into South Quay and disappeared.
However, in the aftermath of the attack, the three friends were injured. Gibbs was shot in his right leg; Douglas was shot in his right foot; and Clement was shot in his right shoulder.
The police were notified and all three men were rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, where up to press time they were said to be warded in stable condition.
Shortly after the shooting, information was being circulated that a ten-year-old child had been injured as well in the shooting spree, however, police sources told Newsday they had no such information up to press time yesterday.
As a result of the shootings, during random intervals in the day, officers of the Besson Street Police Station patrolled George and Duncan streets, Port-of-Spain, with the hope that their presence would prevent further shooting incidents in the area. However, the day was now beginning for the police, as within 20 minutes of the first incident, another shooting incident was reported in Sea Lots.
This time, a vehicle (believed to be the same vehicle from the earlier incident) was driving along the Beetham Highway, when upon reaching the vicinity of Pioneer Drive, the occupants reportedly opened fire on a man who was riding a bicycle.
The individual, who is yet to be identified, managed to throw himself to the pavement and took cover in a nearby drain, even while the assailants continued to fire upon him. It was reported that the individuals began firing at random persons who were walking along the pavement, however, police sources could not confirm this.
What was confirmed, however, was a party of officers who were on mobile patrol in an unmarked vehicle were driving along the highway at roughly the same time, when they came across the vehicle which was parked along the roadway.
Preliminary reports indicated the men were standing outside of the car, which had its doors opened, and were firing their weapons into the air.
The police pulled aside, and after drawing their licensed firearms, the officers reportedly called on the men to surrender. The men did not comply, and reportedly opened fire on the officers.
The two groups then engaged in an exchange of gunfire, during which the assailants (believed to be three men) made good their escape.
A police exercise was immediately conducted in the Sea Lots community, as the officers searched for the attackers.
During the brief exercise, residents of Sea Lots gathered around the police, loudly voicing their complaints and demands, that the police begin a round the clock patrol of the community.
“They getting out of hand man! Allyuh have to do something. It’s almost every week now we having something here. And not all of it reaching the news! But allyuh know! Allyuh need to do something man! Patrol the area! It’s only when somebody dead that we go see allyuh? Don’t wait till it reach that! Come nah man!” exclaimed one woman.
Another individual said Port-of-Spain was “becoming a gun town” or “something from the wild west” and he pleaded with the officers to do something before all control was lost.
“It’s out of hand, and the thing is, it is just a few little boys doing this. Most people in Sea Lots and in the building plannings in town are decent and normal people. But it’s the minority. Those stupid little boys who fighting over turf and contracts and gangs, that giving us all a bad name. People are desensitised to the plight of Sea Lots and these places. Look at this madness that take place this morning. Men shooting up the place, and police having to have a shoot out with them. What would have been the case if this had happened when children were on the road? We need to get a hand on this before it deteriorates even further,” explained another individual.
While several people were questioned, up to press time it could not be confirmed if anyone was arrested from the Sea Lots district during this exercise.
Police sources also told Newsday at about midday, they received information from the Port-of-Spain General Hospital that a man had been admitted for a gunshot injury to the left side of his neck. The officers visited the hospital and interviewed the individual, before placing him under police guard.
Police sources have told Newsday it was believed this individual was part of the group involved in the shootout with officers in Sea Lots. However, the man had not responded to any questions posed by the officers, and as a result, they were expected to visit him again today.
Investigations are continuing.