By RHONDOR DOWLAT and INDARJIT SEURAJ Wednesday, February 4 2009
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CRIME SCENE: Two Crime Scene Investigators in full forensic gear, remove evidence from outside a mini-mart in Barataria where a delivery truck driver ...
MURDER madness is gripping this country, with 61 murders recorded in the 34 days already gone this year. The last six murders were committed within a ten-hour span yesterday.
The latest murder victims have been identified as: Joel Victor, 22; Keon Murphy, 29; Denver Massiah, 30; Kevon Henry, 21; Jean Paul Pierre, 25, and Kenneth Chandler, 41.
The rampant murders this year, come as a slap to the face of National Security Minister Martin Joseph, who during a recent post-Cabinet press conference, confidently assured the nation that TT would not see a repeat of 2008, the year when the all-time murder record of 545 was set.
If the current rate of almost two murders a day continues, the 2008 record would easily be surpassed. Pressed for comment on the murders, Joseph yesterday said: “I remain committed to ensuring that law enforcement will do all in its power to ensure the homicide figures will change in 2009”.
The latest killing spree began at about 5 am yesterday when an acquaintance of Joel Victor went to a house in St Barb’s, Laventille and found a door to the back broken down. The man later discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of Victor and Keon Murphy on a bed. Up to late last night, investigators said they had no motive for this double-murder.
Also at 5 am, an off-duty police officer discovered the body of ‘PH’ driver Denver Massiah of Upper Dundonald Hill, Long Circular Road, St James, lying in a track near his (Massiah) home with gunshot wounds to the head and hand. Police are unsure if Massiah was killed where he was found or if he was killed elsewhere and dumped there. Two hours later, at 7 am, residents of St Augustine Terrace in Diego Martin found the body of Kevon Henry of Mercer Street, Diego Martin on the roadside. Henry who was shot multiple times, was well-known to the police.
Three and a half hours later, at about 10.30 am, 24-year-old delivery truck driver Jean Paul Pierre who worked with LJ Williams Ltd, was shot and killed outside Chang Su Young Mini Mart at Tenth Avenue in Barataria, while off-loading goods from the delivery truck.
Pierre of Morne Diablo Road in Penal, was accosted by a gunman who opened fire before running off. Police believe this was a case of a failed robbery. His relative, Shelly Ann Paul-Huddling said Pierre began working with LJ Williams two months ago and left home at about 4 am everyday in order to get to work on time.
Paul-Huddling said the family was very traumatised by Pierre’s violent death and she wondered aloud what was this country coming to. “Life is no longer respected...the innocent ones are being killed,” she cried.
In the final incident, at about 2.40 pm, Kenneth Chandler of Building II, Apartment 3-1, Laventille went to a mechanic shop at Reyes Road near Wharton Street in Laventille to have his vehicle repaired.
Without warning, a man walked up to Chandler and shot him several times before running off.
The police were called in and officers took Chandler to Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he was pronounced dead-on-arrival.
Police sources said no autopsies were carried out at the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday which means today will be an extremely busy day at Forensic with autopsies on at least eight murder victims (six from yesterday and two from over the weekend) being scheduled to be carried out.