Tai ‘Monster’ Branker was shot multiple times and killed as he sat in the front passenger seat of a Nissan Tiida car in Claxton Bay on Monday evening.
Branker’s relatives yesterday claimed he was a ‘regular joe’ despite his alias and also despite him being jailed in the past and photos circulating on social media, showing him brandishing high-powere weapons.
“He was a normal civilian. Maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyone who gets killed by gunshots are labelled ‘bad’. People only casting Monster as a bad man. That was just his nickname. He was in jail for marijuana some time ago,” said a relative at the family’s home in Point Fortin.
The relative, who requested anonymity, accused police of framing Branker some years ago for ammunition possession at a house in Marabella. Branker, a labourer and father of one, won that case.
For the past few years, Branker lived at First Street in Techier Village, Point Fortin as well as at a friend’s home in Claxton Bay.
Police reported that at about 4.40 pm on Monday, gunmen opened fire at the car Branker was seated in at Mills Avenue, Forres Park, Claxton Bay.
Residents who came out to investigate the gunshots, first used their cellular phones to video record Branker’s bloodied body in the car before one decided to call the police.
A party of officers from the St Margaret’s Police Station and the Homicide Investigations Bureau (Region III) responded. The officers later traced the car and discovered it was rented.
The driver, a woman, escaped unhurt, police said. Branker was not the holder of a driver’s permit and relatives claimed that based on information they received, there may have been others people in the car at the time of the shooting.
“We are not expecting any justice unless we decide to take the law in our own hands. If we do that, police will come looking for us so that don’t make any sense,” said a relative.
Police said that Branker was suspected of being involved in criminal acts in the Southern and South-Western areas of Trinidad.
No arrest has been made in this, the 377th murder for the year and investigations are continuing.