Two children are alive today, surviving a shooting which killed their parents in their Cunupia home yesterday morning. A one-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet on his left arm, while his sister, 11, escaped unhurt.
However, gunmen also snuffed the life of a family friend while wounding his girlfriend who is now warded in hospital.
Christmas preparations in the central Trinidad community took the fatal turn yesterday after gunmen opened fire at the wooden house where mason Wellington Thomas, 31, and his common-law wife, Binta Iahnora Roberta James, 27, lived at Bridel Road, Jerningham Junction, along with their son and James’ daughter.
Close friend, Kiston Guy, 28, also shared the house with the family.
Police reports are that around 5 am, Thomas and James, a former factory worker, were sleeping in the front of the house, with their baby boy and James’ daughter when gunmen stormed in and opened fire on the young couple. They were killed on the spot.
The baby was grazed by a bullet while James’ daughter was spared in the attack.
Police said on hearing the gunshots, Guy quickly came out of the room he was occupying with his girlfriend at the back of the house to see what was happening. He was shot several times and died instantly while his girlfriend was shot in the leg. She is warded in critical condition, under police guard, at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope. Thomas and James’ son was placed in the care of relatives after having his arm treated and bandaged.
The triple homicide came exactly one week after another gruesome incident in which Kahriym Garcia shot and killed his girlfriend, Samantha Isaacs, before taking his own life at a house in Carenage.
Yesterday’s killings have pushed the murder toll to 485.
Snr Supt Kenny Mc Intyre of the Central Division visited the scene and later said police could not determine a motive for the murders.
“Any death under these circumstances is tragic. I understand they were law-abiding citizens.”
Mc Intyre said the police were using its best team to investigate the killings. James’ father, Solomon, 59, told Sunday Newsday, his daughter, a mother of three, and her husband had been living together in the house for about 16 months.
He said they might not have been the intended target.
Solomon, of John Elie Road, Chase Village, said he learnt that Guy and his girlfriend had gone to a party hours before the incident.
“I don’t know if they had any conflict with anybody outside there but after, when they come back home here five o’clock this morning (yesterday), as far as I understand, that some gunmen just run in the place,” Solomon said. The gunmen were said to have been in a white B15 car.
“People tell me when the car stop, all they hear is shots firing inside. They shoot up my daughter and her man and the child in the bed get a graze on his hand.
“They then went down in the back (of the house) and offload a set of bullets on the gentleman.”
Solomon believes the men were searching for Guy and not his daughter and Thomas.
“They come for somebody and they break open the front door, which was the wrong person and as they shoot, they went through the back door and the man (Guy) was coming out when he hear the bullet.
“When he come out they deal with him. The guy who they give the ten bullets is he they have to be looking for.” Thomas’ brother, Hamilton Glasgow, told Sunday Newsday he was baffled by the killing. “I can’t see what could cause this,” he said. “The most them (Thomas and Guy) does do is hustle their scrap iron. They will go and do they mason work and that is it. So, I don’t really know what could really make this happen.”
Glasgow said their mother had bought the parcel of land on which the wooden house was built over ten years ago.
“And as far as I know he never get away with anybody. So, I really don’t know what took place there.”
Glasgow said Guy was like a little brother to them.
One of Guy’s brothers described him as “a well-loved fella.”
“He was not in any violence and we all loved him,” he said.
Guy’s brother said the family received a telephone call around 5 am, saying his brother was shot.
“When we reach, he was already dead with a gunshot to his head.”
He said neighbours were not forthcoming about the incident.
“We can’t find out anything from the neighbours.” Solomon complained about the country’s crime situation.
“I don’t see why they have to kill innocent people. If you and somebody had an altercation you don’t have to take it out on everybody else.
“People are killing people for all kinds of uncalled-for reasons. I don’t know how a man can kill a next man and still want to bring up a child and want the child to be healthy and wealthy, fat and round.
“You cannot just massacre a family and come back and eat breakfast and dinner comfortable.”
Vandana Mohit, councillor for Cunupia in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, said the killings were unfortunate, particularly in the throes of the Christmas season.
“This is unfortunate that three people were murdered. This is a very peaceful village, but the murder rate has been rising in the Chaguanas area in the past few months.”
Saying crime in the central Trinidad was out of control, Mohit said police had been conducting patrols in the area. Mohit lamented that Cunupia was becoming a crime hotspot.