30 BULLETS FOR SOLDIER
By RACHAEL ESPINET Tuesday, July 1 2014
SOLDIER and father of seven Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas was a man marked for death. This was clear judging by the amount of shots fired at him during an ambush in John John, Laventille on Sunday night. At the scene, officers recovered over 30 spent bullet casings around the soldier’s car.
Police said that at about 11.30 pm, Thomas, 33, was driving his car on his way home in Marcano Quarry to take food for his children. At Plaisance Road, John John, rapid gunshots rang out as gunmen surrounded Thomas’ car and opened fire. He died at the scene.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) responded to a report of a shooting near Plaisance Quarry Road, John John. PC Richardson from IATF and a party of officers found a silver-coloured Mazda 323 car facing north on Plaisance Road.
The officers found Thomas’ body slumped in the driver’s seat. He had been shot multiple times. Police sources said Thomas was wearing a red and grey sleeveless shirt and a blue denim three- quarter jeans. Bullets shattered the windscreen and also punctured the bonnet and doors.
Thomas joined the army in August of 2004. He completed Basic Recruit Training at Tetron Barracks and was posted to the First Infantry Battalion as a rifleman. The Defence Force, in a statement, expressed its condolences to Thomas’ family.
Thomas, a father of seven, had six boys and one girl. His youngest child, a three-week-old boy, was named after him. More than a dozen of Thomas’ relatives were at the Forensic Science Centre, St James yesterday awaiting the autopsy report.
A relative said a public threat was made recently to law enforcement officers and said it seemed this threat was not made in jest, based on the fact that Thomas was a soldier.
“A public threat was made by gangsters in the area. Police and soldiers have to sign for their weapons, but gangsters do not have to. They lived up to their promise,” said the relative who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from criminals.
“Kayo’s car was ambushed. We need to get real about the fact that there is a public threat on police and soldiers,” the relative stated. Relatives also asked that no politician visit their home saying that politicians had a part to play in the failure of the authorities to deal with crime in Laventille.
“Kayo should not have gone like that. The politicians have dragged their feet on crime for far too long at the expense of hundreds of innocent lives. It’s not now that crime rampant in Laventille...it happening years now. Laventille is not a bad place, but a minority of criminals rule an entire community,” a relative said.
National Security Minister Gary Griffith, responding to the murder of Thomas, said he will not tolerate the presence of criminals in the country, particularly those targetting members of the Defence Force and/or Police Service.
“I do not intend in any way to accommodate or bend over to any criminal element in this country. If it is a war they want...they will get one. I shudder to think that any criminal element will put God past their thoughts to think they would be involved in pinpointing law enforcement officers. If that is the case they would be in a war they would not win,” Griffith said.