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MURDER IN CEMETERY

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Friday, December 13 2013

click on pic to zoom in

IN what police described as a “hit”, gunmen shot dead an electrician, beat a female security guard to death with a carjack and left another man and woman fighting for their lives from gunshot wounds at the Chaguanas Public Cemetery in Petersfield, Chaguanas on Wednesday evening.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the brutal attack in which Clifford George, 40, and Salisha Langtoo, 23, were killed.

The double murder, followed the killing of a man who was abducted from a maxi taxi near Beetham Gardens on Wednesday morning. And last night, two men were gunned down at a bar in St Clair. The killings have taken the murder rate to 380, passing last year’s tally of 379. (See page 5)

Police report that at about 6.30 pm, George, an electrician and a private for hire driver, was transporting passengers when gunmen opened fire on his red Nissan Almera car, forcing him to crash into a drain at the entrance of the cemetery.

The passengers were Langtoo, of Jane Street, Lisas Gardens, Couva; Kwesi Brooks of Tobago and a woman only identified as Carlene. Carlene and Brooks remained warded in critical condition at two hospitals yesterday.

When police, led by Supt Johnny Abraham, head of the Central Division, responded to the report of a shooting at the cemetery, they found George, of Carolina Village, California, slumped behind the steering wheel of his car. He was shot four times, an autopsy revealed yesterday. Langtoo’s body was found on the road at the edge of the drain. Her head was smashed in and police believe she was beaten with a carjack. She had no gunshot wounds. Police said Langtoo may have been pulled out of the front passenger seat by her killers, or had managed to get out of the car when she was fatally attacked.

Brooks, who was in the back seat, got out of the car in a bid to escape but the gunmen opened fire on him and he fell into the drain where he was found with gunshot wounds to the head. Carlene was found bleeding from gunshot wounds in the back seat.

The four victims were taken to the Chaguanas District Health Facility where George, a father of one, and Langtoo, a security guard, were pronounced dead. Brooks and Carlene were transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, but Carlene was then moved to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.

Speaking to Newsday yesterday in California, George’s aunt Molly Samuel said she was on her way home from a celebration in Arima, shortly before 7 pm on Wednesday, when she received the tragic news. She cried as she recalled George had lived with her since he was seven years old.

“I do not know what went on. I got a call about the shooting while I was in a car in Chase Village (Chaguanas). When my husband and I separated, George was seven and he came to live with me. He was a nice person, very friendly and always listening to gospel,” she said.

Samuel stressed she did not know why someone would want to kill her nephew. She said he was baptised at a full gospel church a few months ago.

George’s brother, Curt Sampson, said the family did not know the persons who were in George’s car and suggested he may have been plying his car for hire when the gunmen struck.

“I heard the names of the other victims but we do not know who they are. He was not on anything and normally would ‘pull bull’ with his car. Clifford was an electrician and he also took (for) hire jobs,” Sampson said.

No one was at the apartment home of Langtoo when Newsday went yesterday to Lisas Gardens where residents said they knew her as “Mama”. They described Langtoo as a respectable person and had not known she was killed until reporters arrived in the neighbourhood. There were reports that either Langtoo or Carlene was pregnant, and that some of the victims were chopped. However, forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov, who performed the autopsies on George and Langtoo, at the Forensic Science Centre, in St James, yesterday said Langtoo was not pregnant. He also said Langtoo and George did not have any chop wounds.

“Probably it was a misconception of pregnancy because she had a cyst on her ovary. Otherwise both of them (Langtoo and George) were healthy persons. Neither of the two victims were chopped as stated in some media reports,” he said.

He disclosed Langtoo’s skull was fractured, that there were injuries to her brain, and that she would have been struck at least five times with the carjack. Alexandrov further confirmed George was shot four times, and that he and Langtoo died instantly.

Police also denied the reports that Carlene was pregnant.

Investigators last night continued their interrogation of the three suspects.

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