Police investigators are not only looking for the killer of a soldier but also for his service weapon, which was still in his hands as he lay dying on the ground, during a shootout at a wake in Moruga on Monday night. When police arrived on the scene, the gun was missing.
Dead is Lance Cpl Marcus Gay, 31, a member of an elite unit of the T&T Regiment with more than ten years service. His colleague Lance Cpl Marc Blunt and four civilians were wounded. Up to last evening, the five survivors remained at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).
Police said, shortly after 11 pm on Monday, PCs Babwah and Ramdath of the St Mary’s Police Post responded to a report of a shooting at Dougla City in Fifth Company Village, Moruga.
On arrival, police saw Gay with multiple gunshot wounds in a yard where a wake was in progress. They saw Blunt, armed with a gun, lying on the roadside with gunshot wounds to his leg. They were both dressed in plain clothes. Four civilians including brothers, Victor and Vincent Brown, Gerard Graham and Renrick St Clair also had gunshot wounds.
The six men were taken to the Princes Town Hospital where Gay was pronounced dead. The survivors were subsequently transferred to SFGH.
Supt. Pragg, ASPs Ali and Ali Mohammed, Insp. Gajadar, Sgt. Ramlogan, Cpl. Fortune and other members of the Southern Division and Homicide Bureau visited the scene. Newsday learnt the soldiers, both of Siparia, were working undercover at the wake of Angela Willie, mother of the Brown brothers. The mother of ten and grandmother of six died on Saturday from heart failure.
Another of Willie’s sons, Munroe Brown, 28, told Newsday unknown men (later identified as the soldiers) arrived at the wake and asked for Victor, 30. Victor went outside and shortly after gunshots rang out and people began scampering for safety.
“We cannot tell who shot who first,” Brown said. “He was talking to them because he heard they were looking for him in the back here. Victor got shot in the head and face and Vincent in his hands and chest.”
Brown said Vincent is not involved in any criminal activities, contrary to reports of him (Vincent) being involved in a chopping incident. “Police never arrested him for that. He (is) innocent.”
An eyewitness said, “In defending themselves from two unknown gunmen”, someone at the wake returned fire. He alleged it was the soldiers who first opened fire.
“Men started to pelt bottles and big stones. At that point, we did not know he was an army man. About ten minutes after the shooting, a jeep with about 15 soldiers came and started to cuss and threatened us,” said the eyewitness.
Another eyewitness Isaiah Gibson, who is also Willie’s son, said her funeral service will take place tomorrow instead of today as initially scheduled.
Gay’s mother, Sandra Smith of Santa Flora said she received a telephone call about the incident at about 3 am yesterday. The mother of seven said he was a straightforward man who loved his job.
“All I heard is he went to work and that was it,” Smith said.
“He works all over and does not have a base. Marcus was a very nice person, always willing to help people.”
In a media release, the Regiment extended condolences to Gay’s family and colleagues and said even as police continue to investigate the incident, it stands ready to lend any assistance into the matter.