A 36-year-old Diego Martin contract worker was killed this morning, while he was at a shop on La Puerta Avenue. While police say that the man was well known to them for several offences, family members told Newsday at the scene of the shooting that he was a legitimate contract worker.
The murdered man was identified as Curtis “Birdman” Smith Jr, from Riverside Drive, La Puerta, Diego Martin.
According to reports, the man was at a shop on La Puerta Avenue at about 9 am, when three men alighted from an Nissan AD Wagon, approached him and riddled him with bullets, he fell to the ground dead, while the gunmen escaped. Crime Scene Investigators who processed the area after the shooting, collected up to 40 bullet casings.
During the incident, a child was grazed by a stray bullet and a man suffered from a broken arm, while fleeing from the hail of bullets the gunmen rained down on Smith. The two are said to be in a stable condition at hospital.
Prior to the shooting, Smith was seen in an altercation with another man. He was captured on a video, kicking a man in his head and his side while he was crouching on the ground, on the Diego Martin Main Road. The video later found its way to social media platforms. Moments after that video was posted, another video, which captured Smith lying on the ground in a pool of blood surfaced on social media as well.
Police who cordoned off the area had to divert traffic from Diego Martin Main Road, to the Diego Martin Highway, causing a traffic pile-up for several hours.
Police say that Smith, was known to them and was suspected in a murder case, and several shootings. He was also believed to be involved in several other illegal activities. However family members say that he was not a criminal, but a businessman, and a father of four. Family members were so beside themselves with grief when they saw his body lying on the ground, that one relative charged past the caution tape, crying out for the slain man. The relative had to be held back by police officers. Another man was arrested for assaulting a police officer while at the murder scene, after a confrontation between the man and a police officer got physical.
Relatives noted that gunmen were after him for a while. They said that they were jealous of him because he had secured several contracts in the area. The man had jobs that he had secured in Hillview, in Diego Martin, as well as on Senior Street, and in Eastern Trinidad. Newsday was told that Smith was heading to one of these job sites, when he was killed.
“He was not doing anything criminal,” said a close female relative, “He was going on a job site in the East.”
Relatives described him as hard-working and family oriented. But they also said that this was not the first time that he was attacked by gunmen.
In April this year, Smith was chased by gunmen who shot him in the shoulder, while he was on Pregnancy Lane, off La Puerta Avenue.
Police have not yet found a motive behind his murder, but investigations are ongoing.
The murder toll now stands at 303 for the year.