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Police kill 13 in October

By RHONDOR DOWLAT Sunday, November 1 2009

click on pic to zoom in
Darrion Callender-Duncan who was killed after a schools' football match....
Darrion Callender-Duncan who was killed after a schools' football match....

FOR THE MONTH of October there were 13 police killings, which brought the police killings total for the year thus far to 40. With respect to murders, there were 25 murders – a little over a 50 percent decrease compared to the month of September. The murders for the year, at the time of writing, were recorded at 434.

On October 28 three kidnappers were shot dead by police in Carlsen Field, Freeport shortly after they snatched jeweller Imran Khan from outside his home at Mt Lambert.

According to a police report, Khan had returned to his Fourth Street, Mt Lambert home at about 8.30 am shortly after dropping off his mother at the family’s jewelry store in Port-of-Spain. As he was about to enter the premises, a blue Nissan Almera pulled up alongside the front gate, three men grabbed Khan and bundled him into the vehicle which sped off.

Relatives who witnessed the kidnapping quickly telephoned the police and a combined team of officers under the supervision of ASP Johnnie Abraham from the Northern Division, Central Division Task Force, Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU), Crime Suppression Unit (CSU) and the Police K9 unit, swung into action and immediately went after the kidnappers.

Forty-five minutes after being snatched, Khan was forced out of the car by his kidnappers in the Carlsen Field area who then ran towards a forested area. With the policemen and their canines closing in, police said, the kidnappers began shooting at them. The officers returned fire. Miraculously, Khan was unhurt in the shootout.

When it was over, the kidnappers lay on the ground bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. The kidnappers and Khan were taken to the Chaguanas Health Centre where doctors pronounced the three kidnappers dead-on-arrival. They were later identified as: Wayne Rogers, Quamie George, Shervon “Pappy” Sayers of Marcano Quarry, Beverly Hills, Laventille.

Police were also involved in the killing of two men from the Beetham, following the murder of a DVD vendor in downtown Port-of-Spain and this incident sparked chaos among the deceased’s family members and Beetham residents. After a fiery protest and the blocking of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Beetham and the Priority Bus Route, police arrested ten persons, including two relatives of one of the deceased men.

However, it was confirmed several days after by Acting Police Commissioner, James Philbert that eyewitnesses identified the dead men at the Forensic Science Centre in St James as being the ones connected to the vendor’s murder.

The DVD vendor, Anderson “Andy” Bynoe, 36, father of three, was gunned down along Broadway in Port-of-Spain.

On October 1 three suspected car thieves were shot dead and a fourth man seriously wounded during an exchange of gunfire between police officers and the four in the vicinity of Juman’s compound in Morvant shortly after 11 pm. The police identified the dead men as Akee Caballero, 32; Joel Romain, 20, and Kerwin Joseph. Following the shootout, police said they seized two guns and recovered a stolen Nissan B15 car.

On October 9, one of two men wanted in connection with the murder of Tobago teenagers Kelon Salandy and Rondell Thomas was shot and killed in Moruga. He was identified as Trinidadian Gary Mohammed, 29, of Sangster Hill, Tobago. Mohammed was shot several times about the body during a shootout with police in a house at St Mary’s Village, Moruga. Mohammed operated a mini mart on the Signal Hill taxi stand, downtown Scarborough.

The second suspect, a 32- year-old man of African descent of Mason Hall, Tobago escaped. However, on October 12, the 32-year-old suspect surrendered to police in the Moruga forests.

On October 24, Ricardo Theophilus, 26, a businessman of Ste Madeleine and Ricardo Pierre, 35, of Marabella, were killed by police during a shootout at Lawrence Street, San Fernando. On October 20, Jerome Gill, 32, of St James was killed during a shootout with police. On October 11, Joel Simon of Diego Martin was killed during a shootout with police in Maraval.

On October 19, the country was shocked when murder accused Peter Garcia, 30, was executed in the yard of the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court by two hitmen dressed as construction workers, as he (Garcia) was being led to the court by a policeman.

The brazen, cold-blooded murder which took place at about 10.30 am, was witnessed by policemen and persons gathered outside the courthouse. The unarmed policeman who was escorting Garcia, escaped unhurt. Garcia, 30, who was once dubbed “the country’s Most Wanted,” was shot once in the leg and when he fell to the ground, one of the gunmen stood over him and fired two shots to the left side of Garcia’s head. He died on the spot. The hitmen escaped while several persons ran screaming.

Garcia shot into the headlines earlier this year following the murders of brothers Jason and Gerard Garcia, Curtis Roy and Wayne Gonzales at Agostini Village, Rio Claro between October 2008 and April 2009.

He subsequently went on the run and remained in hiding in the Rio Claro forest for several weeks before surrendering to the police in May. Garcia was arrested but was never charged with the murders of the men and instead appeared in court in May this year, for the April 18, 2008 murder of chutney promoter Simboonath Kumar.

In October, several students of the St Joseph’s College in St Joseph were made to strip down to their undergarments as police officers carried out a search for $1,400 reportedly stolen from the schoolbag of a Form Five student. This incident occurred on October 6 and caused outrage amongst some citizens. This action resulted in angry parents demanding a full-scale probe into the police’s action.

Another stunning crime occurred on October 25 when 13 guns went missing following a robbery at the Mi5 Security Compound on Alfredo Street, Woodbrook.

On October 26, the brother of two police officers was taken into custody after being identified as one of two men involved in the robbery. The suspect is said to be from Couva. It is believed the suspect used a police uniform belonging to one of his brothers, without that person’s knowledge and consent, to impersonate a police officer, to carry out the robbery. It was also revealed that other suspects including a former employee of Mi5, were in custody.

Police sources yesterday said that although eight weapons were recovered on Monday night in Couva and St Joseph, only one was verified as being among the 13 stolen from Mi5. Cross-referencing of serial numbers was being done on the other seven weapons to see if they belong to Mi5.

One of the murders that rocked the country was when on October 23, schoolboy, Darrion Callendar-Duncan, 15, a Form Three student of the Carapichaima East Secondary School was stabbed to death after an Intercol football match at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. Police said at about 7.45 pm Callender-Duncan had just made his way out of the stadium for home when, upon reaching a short distance from the stadium, he was attacked by a group of students of another secondary school.

One of the students, police said, whipped out a knife and stabbed Callender-Duncan in the chest. He was then pelted with bottles and stones as he attempted to flee his attackers.

Upon reaching in the vicinity of the Marabella Health Centre, Union Park East, Marabella, he stumbled and fell to the ground where he died.

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