|COPS KILL 2 MEN |
By Rachael Espinet Friday, June 20 2014
Early yesterday morning three men were involved in a shootout with police officers from the North Eastern Division Task Force. Two of the men died during the shooting bringing the number of persons shot dead by police this year to 28.
One of the men was identified as Abba Diaz, 25, of Blackford Street, Santa Cruz.
The North Eastern Task Force on patrol at about 3.45am was alerted that a silver Toyota Corolla had just left the Francis Street, San Juan area where three occupants of the vehicle were attempting to steal a boat engine.
The assailants set off an alarm and fled the scene. Persons in the area who heard the alarm alerted the police. The silver Corolla sped off onto Saddle Road in the vicinity of the San Juan North Secondary School.
Inspector Roger Alexander said the police officers called on the occupants of the vehicle to stop, but a chase ensued north along Saddle Road.
During the chase there was an exchange of gunfire between the occupants and the police. The occupants lost control of the car in the vicinity of Jagan Village where the vehicle spun off the road also flipping over several times.
One of the occupants came out of the car, fired several shots at the police and ran into the nearby woods. The person who escaped is known to the police, and Insp Alexander said an arrest is imminent.
The two other occupants were found outside the vehicle with gunshot wounds and injuries associated with an accident. Two firearms were recovered on the scene. The two men were rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, where they were pronounced dead on arrival. A manhunt is out for the third man who lives in the Santa Cruz area. The police have alerted all nearby health facilities to be on the lookout for a man with gunshot wounds.
Alexander said cameras were quickly on the scene to document the assailants with the weapons. He said all three men were known to the police.
In defence of the recent police shootings, Alexander said “While the good citizens of Trinidad and Tobago sleep, my officers and I continue to ensure that people are safe on a 24-hour basis. Yet, those who sleep and awake the next morning always seem to have some untimely statement made about the actions of the police as it relates to those matters.”
Alexander went on to say, “Sometimes I wonder if they would make these same statements if they were shot at, or robbed, or a gun was pointed at them. It seems like many of the detractors are yet to be victims of crime.” Public Relations Officer for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Inspector, Wayne Mystar held a news conference at the Morvant Police Station yesterday afternoon to brief the media about the shooting.
Mystar showed the police vehicle that was shot at, with one prominent bullet hole on the vehicle’s bonnet and another smaller bullet hole at the side. Mystar said the weapons recovered were a .38 revolver and a .40 pistol. He stated the .40 pistol had enough power to cause serious harm to a person wearing a bulletproof vest. Conflicting reports state that all three men got out of a gold Toyota Corolla and began shooting at the police officers in the vicinity of Jagan Village.
Mystar further stated the North Eastern Division has one of the highest records of discovering illegal firearms. For the year the North Eastern Division has recovered 49 illegal firearms.
A relative of Diaz contacted Newsday yesterday afternoon stating that she heard rumours of Diaz’ death, but had no information from the police.
Upon learning of his death, she said she was relieved that she and her family were no longer in the dark about his death.
Diaz was a father of two, a boy and a girl, and had four brothers and one sister. Diaz was unemployed and was previously detained by the police for possession of weapons.