Students of the Morvant Laventille Secondary School said yesterday they heard the shots that snuffed out the life of 14-year-old classmate Joshua Andrews on Monday afternoon. Andrews was shot and burnt alive when the PH taxi in which he was travelling home from school came under attack from gunmen. The driver Devon Hernandez was also killed. Two other students of the same school were also wounded during the attack.
“We were getting ready to leave school when all of a sudden we heard something like gunshots,” one student told Newsday yesterday. “At first we didn’t pay it much mind, because we are accustomed to the sound. It was only when I got home I found out he (Joshua) was dead. Sometimes we would walk home and talk along the way about school and what we wanted to do when we left. It’s really sad.”
The students were in shock after learning of Joshua’s murder, many of them saying they feel unsafe despite reassurances of better security from Education Minister Anthony Garcia, who visited the school yesterday morning, and teachers.
Newsday also spoke with some students after they attended an assembly with the minister. They said they were deeply pained by the incident. One of Andrews’ neighbours and a close friend told Newsday she spoke to him mere minutes before he went into the taxi.
Newsday understands that Andrews’ sister is also a student of the school but did not attend classes yesterday.
Asked if they felt safe in the wake of the incident, students said while they were concerned for their safety, they have come to accept such crimes as a part of life in Trou Macaque. One student said most of Andrews’ classmates were not particularly disturbed by his passing.
“It’s become a regular thing here,” he said. “A lot of us live in the community itself so its not as if its a new experience. People die. We all have to die someday. We just have to try and come to terms with it.”
The students said they intend to hold a brief memorial vigil for Andrews.
As they emotionally recalled their experiences with him, one student said she hoped the incident would serve as a wake up call to authorities to take a more proactive approach in treating with crime in the community.
“He was a real friend to all of us,” the student said. “(He was) very caring, very understanding and would always help out whenever he could. We will all miss him and its sad only when something like this happens we see a response.”
According to sources, one of the students wounded in the incident was discharged from the Port of Spain General Hospital on Monday evening after having his finger reattached, while another student who was shot in the cheek was discharged yesterday morning.