By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Tuesday, January 7 2014
TWO young men were yesterday gunned down in broad daylight next to Nelson Street Girls’ RC School in Port-of-Spain on the first day of the new school term — bringing to 16 the number of murders committed in the first six days of January. This, according to statistics, is the bloodiest start to a New Year in the past six years.
In the first six days of January 2008, 15 persons were murdered. The murder rate soared to 547 by December 31 of that year — the highest number of murders ever recorded in a calendar year in this country’s history.
At five minutes past midday, when students were on their lunch break at the Nelson Street Girls’ RC Primary School, gunshots rang out as Derrick “Warlord” Joseph, 23, of St Barb’s and Ishmael Bain, 19, of Snake Valley, Laventille, were cut down in a hail of bullets while they were standing near the Nelson Street entrance to Apartments 43-45.
Joseph was found on a concrete walkway while Bain was lying below in a drain. Both had been shot multiple times in their heads. Officers led by Snr Supt Michael Roban, Insp Sahadeo Singh, Insp Lawrence and Cpl Budree visited the scene. Crime Scene Investigators later recovered several spent shells near the bodies. The area was cordoned off even as residents, some sitting overhead on the rooftops of the apartment buildings, watched as the police did their work.
“When will this madness end? Young men killing young men. That cannot continue. You are destroying your future...the future of this country! Please stop this madness!” exclaimed an elderly man as he gazed at the bodies.
Bain’s mother Joan Bain was seen being comforted by female friends who were by her side as she went to identify her son’s body. She told Newsday her son was a kind and caring person who however, “fell in” with the wrong crowd.
“It was his friends. The friends he used to have around him. They took him down this path,” Joan said. Both men were well known to the police as they had several matters pending before the courts. In fact, police said, Joseph was last seen alive yesterday morning leaving the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court where he had a matter. In fact, officers said his copy book which was used to record his reports to the police, was found next to his body.
Bullet-riddled body in St James
About six hours earlier, the bullet-riddled body of a 43-year-old man was found near Fort George, St James. Police reported at about 10.30 pm on Sunday, residents of Rosslands, St James, heard several gunshots and notified Western Division Police. A unit on mobile patrol was dispatched to the area however on their initial sweep, did not notice anything, “out of the ordinary.”
At about 5.30 am yesterday, a resident was leaving his home for work when he noticed a trail of dried blood leading to the front door of his home. The man followed the trail up some communal stairs and was horrified when he found the body of Triston “Spirit” McLean.
Police were again called in and officers led by Sgt Roger Thomas, Cpl Beckles and PC Joseph, visited the scene. When Newsday visited the area yesterday, residents said when the gunshots rang out on Sunday night, all of them remained locked inside their homes. “This area get real hot now and we really are afraid for our lives. It’s just not safe to lime outside now,” a resident said.
“Crime gone out of control in this place. They go kill you for nothing these days. If they think you smell something they do, they coming after you,” said the man who only gave his name as Ernie.
Police said McLean was known to them as he had previous matters pending before the courts.
Murdered man identified
Yesterday, police positively identified the body of the man who was found last week Thursday in a river near the Caroni Bird Sanctuary off the Uriah Butler Highway. Police sources said the man was identified by his mother at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, as Ganesh Dhaniram, 48, a building contractor from Boundary Road, El Socorro.
Dhaniram left his home driving his Toyota Fielder station wagon on Wednesday to attend a party. He was never seen alive. With his car still unaccounted for, police theorise Dhaniram was the victim of a robbery.
Last Thursday, Dhaniram’s body was found partially submerged in the river at about 3.45 pm by a group of crab catchers. He was shot in the head. His feet were secured with two concrete blocks. Investigations are continuing.
Killer’s dad apologises
Also yesterday, Bobby Roopnarine apologised for the actions of his son in the murder/ suicide which rocked San Juan on Saturday afternoon. Shastri Roopnarine, 24, and his girlfriend Amanda Persad, 22, were found dead in their apartment in Ramcharan Drive off Don Miguel Road.
Police believe the incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning but the bodies were only found at about 3 pm. Persad’s body reportedly had a number of gunshot wounds while Roopnarine had a single gunshot to the head. A gun was found next to Roopnarine’s body.
Speaking to reporters yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, Roopnarine told reporters his son was “a troubled person at times”, who had an, “up and down relationship” with Persad.
“He used to tell me that they kept on having their ups and downs and that he was in a bad relationship. But that is no excuse for what he did. He is my son and I can’t say anything more than I loved him. For what it’s worth, I am sorry for what he did. But all that is just words, because we can’t change the past. Maybe if I had taken a firmer approach things would be different, but now we will never know and I just have to go along with what the police say happened,” Roopnatine said. Persad’s relatives spoke briefly to the media, saying only that the 22-year-old was “a kind and loving person who was full of life and love.”