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MOM UNDER THREAT

By NALINEE SEELAL and RACHAEL ESPINET Friday, June 6 2014

click on pic to zoom in

A mother’s life is now under threat following the murders of her two young sons, nine and 15 years old, who were shot dead at their home at Petunia Avenue, Morvant last Sunday.

She has now moved out from her home to a safe, undisclosed location with her two surviving children, a 17-year-old daughter and another 14-year-old son, and a relative.

“I feel much safer now, and I have the support there,” Michelle Holder told Newsday, in her last hours at the Petunia Avenue address, where her sons Jadel, nine, and Jamal, 15, were murdered shortly after she cooked Sunday lunch for her family.

Gunmen shot the young boys multiple times, while Holder and other relatives were in another part of the house.

Police confirmed they had learned earlier this week an attempt would have been made on the woman’s life and alerted her to the threat. This led to arrangements being put in place for her and her family to move.

Investigators believe the plan was about to be carried out yesterday, when they received information, at about 10.30 am, that gunmen were seen in Mon Repos, making their way along the many paths in the Morvant community, and it was suspected that they were heading toward Petunia Avenue.

Police were already on an alert as at about the same time, Holder was at the house for a meeting with Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development Vernella Allyene-Toppin who went to offer support and assistance to the grieving woman.

On receiving the tip-off, officers of the Northern Eastern Division Task Force set out to intercept the gunman. According to reports, they encountered the gunmen in Mon Repos who opened fire on them. The officers shot back, wounding one of the men who was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he died. A .38 revolver with four live rounds and four spent shells were recovered at the scene of the shooting, police said.

“This morning (yesterday) a Minister was going to visit a particular place, to visit a victim of crime and while there we received information, that persons were about to go down there to have the witness ‘dealt with’. We managed to intercept them, there was an exchange of gunfire and one man was shot and he subsequently died at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital,” Inspector Roger Alexander, of the Northern Division, disclosed last evening on TV6’s Beyond the Tape programme.

The fatal police shooting however triggered a protest among Morvant residents when the man was identified as 21-year-old Chaquille McCoy. Residents denied McCoy was involved in any wrongdoing and Assistant Commissioner of Police Carlton Alleyne later said an investigation of the shooting would be undertaken.

The search continues for the killers of the two brothers who are to be laid to rest next Tuesday.

Holder yesterday said her youngest son, Jadel, was building a bicycle before he died. She said Jadel loved to ride his bicycle with his brother, but was building a new bike for himself. Before he died, he even asked her for money to buy spray paint for his bike.

Holder said she is trying to stay strong for her other children, and expressed concern for her surviving son’s safety and is contemplating changing schools. However, she quickly said there are not many other schools that she could send her son to, so she may leave him at the school he attends.

Alleyne-Toppin, who was familiar with Holder as the two once worked at Morvant New Government Primary School, where Jadel was a student, said Holder has received counselling from the ministry, a temporary food card for the boys’ wake and a funeral grant that will pay for the boys’ funeral service.

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