By NEWSDAY STAFF Tuesday, January 14 2014
A State witness, a mother of two, and a young man who just got himself a job are all dead today, three more on a roll call of 26 murder victims recorded only two weeks into 2014.
For the family of Ricaldo Sanchez, 51, a witness in a murder case, their fears came to pass when he was found dead near his home in Palo Seco yesterday. Sanchez, a disc jockey, of Mitchell Trace, Los Charros Road, went missing on Sunday morning, after playing music at Station 22 Bar at Los Charros Junction. He was due to testify at the Siparia Magistrates’ Court yesterday. (See page 5)
However, his body was found in a forested area at Skinner Trace, Santa Flora. He was shot dead.
Police report that at about 7.45 am, a contractor driving through the area came across the body of Sanchez and contacted the Santa Flora Police Station.
Police officers from the Homicide South Bureau and South Western Division Task Force were also called, including Supt Cecil Harry, Inspector Sean Dilpaul, Cpl Scipo, Pcs Smith, La Fortune and others. The road was condoned off with caution tape.
Sanchez’s common-law wife, Mahalia Floyd, had to be consoled by relatives as she screamed in grief.
Sanchez had left his home, at about 7.30 pm on Saturday, to play music at Station 22 Bar, and after his shift, he went to a birthday party and was last seen alive at about 4 am on Sunday. An hour-and-a-half later his common-law wife found his personal items and blood.
A distraught Floyd cried openly as she identified his body yesterday asking, “Why, why, why?”
Floyd said she was praying her husband would have been found alive.
“I was asleep this morning (Monday) when I awoke to hear that they found a body and it maybe that of Ricaldo. I just fly up the road,” Floyd said. “You can’t take an innocent life just so. So I just hoping and praying that justice would be served.”
She described her husband as a man of God and the law. “I could not desire a better man and they took him from me,” Floyd wept.
Speaking with reporters at the Forensic Science Centre, St James yesterday, where the autopsy on his body was performed, Sanchez’ sister, Hazel Sanchez, said he was down-to-earth and well liked by everyone in their neighbourhood.
“He was a good man. He would help a stray dog, he loved to plant, he loved his garden and loved his music,” she said.
Sanchez was also a part-time electrician with Petrotrin. She said her brother had informed police officers of the threats on his life and was told when he arrived at court, they would discuss how he would be incorporated into the witness protection programme.
“Whoever do this, let God deal with them, but the family is not going to pick up a gun and look for revenge,” she said.
MOM OF 2 KILLED
Hours earlier, on Sunday night, 34-year-old mother of two, Abi-Gail Persad, was gunned down by an unknown assailant outside her Manhattan Drive, Maturita home.
Police reported that at about 8.45 pm, Persad, her common law husband Malcolm Worrell, 37, and her six-year-old daughter arrived home following a run to buy ice-cream for the young girl.
Worrell was reversing the family’s silver Nissan B13 car into the yard, when a gunman dressed in dark clothing, a black hat, and sheltering under a black umbrella approached the car.
The gunman had emerged from a bushy parcel of land, obliquely opposite Persad’s home, and without warning opened fire to the front of the vehicle. He then made his way to the front passenger seat of the car, and continued firing.
Worrell jumped out of the car and ran to the back of the house, leaving his step daughter and wife in the vehicle. Upon his return, he discovered Persad had been hit multiple times about her upper body, and on both arms. His step-daughter, while visibly traumatised, was unharmed.
Worrell rushed the wounded woman to the Arima District Health Facility, however, Persad died at about 9.10 pm while undergoing treatment.
The police were notified and a party of officers from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations and the Northen Division, including Inspector Thompson, Inspector Simon, Sgt Jugmohan, Sgt Gyan, Cpl Samaroo, WCpl Davis, PC Sookdeo, among others, visited the scene.
The area was cordoned off, and crime scene investigators recovered several spent shells after a sweep of the site.
When Newsday visited Persad’s home yesterday, neighbours described her as a “kind and caring” person, and could not understand why anyone would want to kill her, especially in the presence of her young daughter.
“She was cool you know. Normal, normal. She used to run the mini-mart at the back of their home (Abi and Robson’s mini-mart) so everyone know her. We used to talk to her and make jokes with her. She was always normal and very loving to her two daughters. To say why anyone would want to kill her, I can’t even fathom that,” a neighbour said.
“All I know is that this country getting more and more dangerous, and you can’t say or even think anything negative against anyone, because to them men out there, that alone is reason enough to end your life. That is madness.”
Another man suggested that at the rate murders were taking place (with 26 in 13 days) that, as much as he was against it, it was probably for the best that Government reintroduce a curfew (state of emergency). Persad is the fourth woman to be killed for the month.
In an unrelated shooting, which also occurred at about 8.45 pm, Port-of-Spain Division police officers were called out to respond to reports of a shooting in the vicinity of Belmont Circular Road.
MAN, 26, SHOT DEAD
Sherwin Wint, 26, of Samuel Lane, Belmont, was liming with a group of friends including 20-year-old Tamika Marcano and 16-year-old Rosslyn Lewis — both of Belmont — near the NP gas station along Belmont Circular Road, when the group was approached by an unknown assailant.
Without warning the individual pulled out a firearm and shot at the group before running away. In the ensuing chaos, Wint, Marcano, and Lewis were shot multiple times. Wint was shot in his upper torso, Marcano received injuries to her left arm and Lewis received injuries to his legs.
The police were notified and within minutes a party of officers from the Inter Agency Task Force and the Belmont Police Station arrived on the scene.
With the assistance of a taxi-driver, the three injured persons were rushed to the nearby Port-of-Spain General Hospital. However, while undergoing treatment, Wint succumbed to his injuries, despite the best efforts of the doctors on call.
Wint’s body was taken to the Forensic Science Centre, St James where an autopsy was performed yesterday.
At the centre, Wint’s sister, Stacey Kelly, described her brother as a “nice person” and strongly denied any rumours that he was involved in any criminal activity.
“As far as we are concerned he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can ask anybody about Sherwin. He was real cool and normal. He even get a job at Johnny Q just the other day. We don’t understand why anyone would want him dead at all,” Kelly said.
She noted Wint’s death was especially hurtful to her family as they had only recently recovered from the death of their mother two years ago. Investigations are continuing into Wint’s death.
Then, in yet another shooting, a 29-year-old man is warded in a critical condition at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope after he was shot multiple times near the Arima/Port-of-Spain taxi stand, along St Joseph Street, Arima.
Police reported that at about 9.45 am yesterday, Devon Decoto of Maloney Boulevard was standing along St Joseph Street, when he was approached by an unknown assailant. After a brief exchange between them, the gunman pulled out a firearm and shot Decoto multiple times.
The man attempted to casually walk away, however, concerned persons raised an alarm and followed the suspect. At the same time, a party of police officers on patrol arrived on the scene, and their swift actions led the arrest of the 21-year-old man. It was said he had a firearm in his possession.
Decoto was rushed to the Arima District Health Facility before being transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
This incident comes just six days after 21-year-old Deryck Martin Pena Jnr was gunned down at the Arima/Port-of-Spain taxi stand. On January 7, Pena of Malabar was standing at the corner of St Joseph and Green streets, near the Arima/Port-of-Spain taxi stand, when he was approached by two armed men who shot him before escaping by running west along Green Street.
When Newsday visited the area near the taxi stand yesterday, heavy police patrols were seen as officers stationed themselves near several corners along St Joseph Street. Police said the patrols were in response to the two shootings in a bid to deter criminals from committing further acts which endangered the lives of citizens. Senior Superintendent David Abraham of the Northern Division yesterday said with increased police patrols, it was his belief that the public could now feel safer at the Arima taxi stand.
“We at the Northern Division have realised the increase in incidents, especially in that particular area where there is heavy human and mobile traffic. As a result, we have increased patrols throughout the division, with special emphasis in Arima, Arouca, and those more easterly communities,” Abraham said.
He disclosed a police patrol detained a suspect in the shooting of Sheldon “Barry” Isaac along O’Meara Road, Arima on Sunday. Over the past three days, officers have also seized three firearms.