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Murder toll now 79

Saturday, February 27 2016

TWO men, one a teenaged father of two and the other, a 26-year-old man, were killed yesterday within the space of seven hours in Barataria and Chaguanas as murders continue unabated. The national murder rate reached 79 up to press time.

In the first incident, at about 8.45 am, Jerron Douglas, 19, was working at a construction site in Nicholasville, Barataria, when gunmen drove up to the site. Three gunmen alighted their vehicle, approached Douglas, who was standing on the roadside, and opened fire on him.

The volley of gunshots startled everyone on the quiet Barataria street, but before they could investigate, the gunmen jumped into their vehicle and sped off. Douglas was found in a pool of blood on the roadway. He was dead.

Police and emergency services were alerted and officers of the North Eastern Division responded.

Police sources say the teen father of two was not known to be involved in any criminal activity. No motive has been established for his slaying and investigations are continuing.

Douglas’ relatives and residents in the area are just as puzzled as police, with regard to a motive for his murder.

“I am doing construction by my place and I offered him a job,” said businessman and resident Dereck Cooper. “The job I offered was paying 250, but he take this job here because it was closer to his home. This job payed only $200, but he said he rather be here because it was closer to his home and his children. He said he wanted to be close to home in case he was needed. That was the kind of responsible father he was,” Cooper said.

Douglas’ children - 15-monthold twins - will now grow up never knowing their father. His common- law wife Natisha Smith cut a forlorn figure at the scene saying that in the blink of an eye, she has become a single parent. “If I didn’t have two children and you asked what the next step was, I would have told you is down in the grave for me.

But I have the two children so I have to stay strong. I don’t know what I am going to tell them later,” Smith said.

“The last thing he told me before he left for work was, ‘babes, I love you..see you later’ And that was it,” she cried. Smith said Douglas was focused on working hard and building a home for his family. “We were supposed to get married soon. But now that can never happen,” she said.

MURDER MOST BRAZEN In the second incident, police said that at about 3.30 pm, Ashton Villafana, 26, who was a construction worker of No. 1 Teak Drive, Homeland Gardens, Cunupia was sitting on his bicycle at Dora’s Lotto Booth off the Southern Main Road in Cunupia.

A light green Toyota Yaris car stopped alone the road and two men alighted, ran up to Villafana and riddled him with bullets before getting back into the car which sped off.

PC Baptiste and PC Bisnath arrived on the scene and rushed Villafana to the Chaguanas Health Centre where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The killers’ car was found abandoned along Bernard Street off Mc Carthy Street, Dass Trace in Cunupia. No arrest has been made.

Snr Supt Jason Forde, Supt Kenny McIntyre, Sgt Jitindra Toolaram and others visited the scene.

Police sources told Newsday Villafana was a member of a gangster group in Enterprise, Chaguanas known in that community as the ‘Unruly Isis’ and his murder may have been a reprisal for the murder on Wednesday of Cyril “Swaggy” De Leon, 63, who was a member of the Enterprise mosque. De Leon was shot and killed by a gunman who rode up to him on a bicycle at the corner of Enterprise Road and School Trace in Enterprise.

Newsday learnt that De Leon, a devout muslim who cleaned the Enterprise Mosque, belonged to a group of law-abiding muslims in the community. Police said ‘Unruly Isis’ is in a ‘war’ with law-abiding Muslims. De Leon, it was claimed, was among those trying to change the behaviour of the “lawless” young Muslims which angered ‘Unruly Isis’. Up to late yesterday evening police were still on the scene. Investigations are continuing.



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