Wild, wild east
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL and DARCEL CHOY Saturday, October 5 2013
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CRIME: The Driver's Permit of murder victim Sydney Job, one of five persons murdered in Arima within three days, is placed next to a bullet hole, the ...
ARIMA residents yesterday begged for police to increase patrols and make arrests saying their area was fast becoming the “wild, wild east” on the heels of five persons being murdered within the past three days and a shooting incident at a wake which left two men hospitalised in critical condition.
The latest killings took place on Thursday night when two men were shot dead in separate incidents in La Horquetta and D’Abadie. The first incident took place at about 9.30 pm, when two men entered a maxi-taxi in which David Chance, 29, of Samaroo Village, Arima, was working as the conductor. The vehicle was en route from Port-of-Spain to Arima.
The men asked to be dropped off at Red Hill, D’Abadie and shortly after arriving at their destination, one man alighted from the vehicle and paid Chance, while the other without warning, shot the 29-year-old at point blank range.
The men then escaped on foot. The driver rushed the injured man to the Arima District Health Facility where he succumbed to his injuries shortly after 10 pm. Then at about 10.45 pm, police responded to reports of gunshots at La Horquetta Boulevard.
On arriving officers found the body of 25-year-old Joel Andall of Phase Two, La Horquetta on the side of the road. He had been shot several times. A party of officers from Northern Division including Corporal Bernard and Constable Maraj visited the scene.
Relatives of Andall said he was a father of two and worked as a mason. Relatives said they had no idea why Andall was killed and called on police to find the killers. The killings pushed the murder toll to 301, 17 less than last year’s figure for the corresponding period.
The first killings, out of the five murder spree, began on Tuesday night with the deaths of Sydney Job, 27, and Shiyloh Mc Intosh, 21. The two were liming at the Congress of the People (COP) sub-office along Mahogany Drive in Malabar, when they were approached by three armed men. The men opened fire on the duo and McIntosh was killed instantly. Job died shortly after arrival at the Arima District Hospital.
Less than 24 hours later, residents of Train Line Road in Arima reportedly heard several loud explosions and on investigating, found the body of 36-year-old Christopher Gregg lying in a pool of blood.
The shooting incident which took place on Thursday night, occurred at a wake which was being held for Job along Train Line Road. In this instance, three men stormed the home, and fired 34 shots at the group of mourners, injuring 27-year-old Devon Lewis in the right foot and 25-year- old Marvin Solomon in the finger. The armed assailants then fled the scene.
The injured persons were then rushed to the Arima District Hospital, where they were both treated. Solomon was eventually discharged while Lewis was transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, where he was warded up to late yesterday.
When Newsday visited the home yesterday, family members were still traumatised by the incident.
One female relative who did not want to give her name said Lewis was actually shot in his leg and she thinks there is a fear that he may lose it as she said it was hanging from the skin.
She said police notified the family earlier in the day and told them they got a tip off that a shooting would have occurred that night. She said the police assured them they would have been their bodyguards for the night. She said from the beginning of the wake, a police vehicle patrolled the street but five minutes before the shooting, they were no where around.
She said when the gunmen started shooting she quickly ran inside and ensured that her grandmother and the children in the home were safe. She said if she did not do that she might have been injured. The relative said, She said the family was not sure if they were going to have a wake yesterday and they were still working out the funeral arrangements.
Residents nearby called on the police to begin patrolling the area more frequently. “We need to do something about all these killings, this is too much now, mothers are losing their children, children are losing their parents, something needs to be done before the area gets even worse,” one woman said. Another woman said she was considering moving out of the area if the shootings continue.
“A few hours after the shooting at the wake, I heard more gunshots and I just prayed that no one lost their life. It is really getting scary now and if this continues I would have to get my family out of here before we get caught up in the crossfire,” she said.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Senior Superintendent for the Northern Division David Abraham wanted to assure the public that contrary to the fears of some, the Arima district was not a gun town, and that steps had already been put in place to minimize the chances of further homicides in the area.
“I don’t want to disclose too much of what we are doing right now, or the strategies which we will be using, because if you look at the pattern of the killings and the shooting incidents over the past few days, you will realise that they have a common factor, and as such, we believe they are gang related. So all I am prepared to say is that we have our officers on the ground as we speak, to bring a sense of visibility to help reassure the public. But beyond that, I will not go into the details of the strategies which we are employing, other than to say we have things in place right now to try to avoid any further killings.
“Regarding the homicides which have occurred since Tuesday, what I am prepared to say is that we have certain information that our officers are acting on, and we are following certain leads and looking at certain suspects, so it is safe to say that an arrest should be imminent in these matters,” Abraham said.