|BOY, 16, KILLED IN SCHOOL |
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Thursday, August 29 2013
For the fourth time in two weeks, a teenager was brutally killed on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain.
Kazim Maxine, 16, was gunned down while walking out of the Laventille Technology and Continuing Education Centre. It was Maxine’s first day of school.
Police reported that at about 2 pm, Maxine, of Eastern Quarry, Laventille, was leaving the school with another student at the end of an electronic installation class. The two teens were walking toward the Eastern Main Road, when they were ambushed by two men.
After an exchange of words, the two men pulled out firearms, a 9 mm handgun and a submachine gun and shot Maxine multiple times in his upper body. His friend managed to escape unhurt. Maxine stumbled a few feet before falling to the ground. He died on the school compound. The two armed men then fled across the Eastern Main Road and Priority Bus Route into Beetham Gardens.
A party of officers from the Besson Street Police Station, the Inter Agency Task Force, the Port-of-Spain CID, and the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, including ASP Ajith Persad, Inspector Sahadeo Singh, Inspector Billie, Sgt Hinkson, Cpl Sirjew and PC Romeo, arrived soon after.
The area around the school was cordoned off and west-bound lane of the Eastern Main Road was temporarily closed, causing a back log of traffic for persons leaving Port-of-Spain.
Enraged residents had to be repeatedly warned by police officers to control themselves.
“They come and kill that youth for what? For nothing! He was now leaving school! They kill him by a school! For what? He wasn’t in anything. He trying to stay out of all that gang nonsense and yet they gun him down like a dog? And the first thing everybody who will see this on the news later is that he from Laventille, so he deserve it! That he was in a gang! When that is the furthest thing from the truth! He went to school to avoid that life, and look how it still take him na. Oh Lord,” a resident exclaimed.
Maxine’s relatives screamed when they saw his body. His father, Peter, said his family could not understand why anyone would want to kill the teenager.
“I know he had a falling out with some people a while back, but I don’t think that would have been related to this. Regardless this is the very reason we sent him to school. We wanted him off the streets. Imagine that? He was studying at Russell Latapy School and while he was there he used to tinker with electronics and hustle a few installations on the side. So we decided that we would send him to the Centre so he could learn it better and get certified and make a little change while he studying,” said Peter.
“I was even organising to put him in a football club some time next week. Just to make sure he had no free time for idleness. I see what going on in this country, and you always hear the politicians and the police saying for parents to step in and find activities for their children to keep them off the streets. That is exactly what we did, and yet Kazim still get kill? I have to come and see my son lying on the road like that? The slogan on the wall right there is, “earn while you learn”, and it seems like my son did just that. His first day of school and he earned a bullet,” the distraught father lamented.
As the police were patrolling the road groups of men from Beetham Gardens began gathering by the basketball court. Another group of men from Laventille assembled at the bottom of Picton Quarry Road.
The two groups began showing each other signs, some appeared to be gestures depicting guns, raising concerns of a looming gun warfare between the two communities. However, the two groups would not risk a confrontation with the police and armed members of the Defence Force patrolling the crime scene.
Yet, at about 3 pm, a group of men, a few wearing bandannas over their face, grabbing at what appeared to be metallic objects and stones made their way to the Eastern Main Road. However, the group scattered after they were confronted by a group of police officers. No one was arrested.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (North West) Stephen Ramsubhag said it hurt him to learn that a 16-year-old boy had been gunned down.
“My sympathies go out to the boy’s loved ones. Furthermore, I was disheartened to learn that just hours before an honest businessman was gunned down inside his store. (See story below) These killings are inhumane and horrendous acts,” he said.
Ramsubhag said the killers were mostly likely gang members, but this did not mean the victims were in gangs.
“Why are young men between Beetham and Laventille fighting and killing each other? Don’t they want to live to be fathers? To be grandfathers? Why are they killing each other?” Ramsubhag asked.
He said the “intensified police presence” in Port-of-Spain and environs were still ongoing, noting, however, that sometimes “incidents such as these” slipped through the net.
“I am pleading with parents and the young men and young women who are involved in criminal activities, please leave the culture of fast money and fast cars, because too many of our young people are losing their lives. Either through direct action, or as a casualty of the wars that are going on. Please join us, partner with us, and let us take back our country from the hands of criminality,” Ramsubhag said.
Attempts to reach school officials were unsuccessful up to late yesterday. On August 14 last, 16-year-old cousins, Naim Chester Antoine and Rasheeda Gomez, who lived in Housing Development Corporation apartment buildings on Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, and 17-year-old Sean Lewis, of Laventille, were among six persons who were shot dead over a 24 hour period. Maxine’s death, along with the murders of Jason Butcher and Phil Best yesterday, pushed the murder toll to 252, according to Newsday’s statistics.