Police have launched a full-scale into the circumstances surrounding an exchange of gunfire in Signal Hill last Wednesday.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Garfield Moore, of the Tobago Division of the TT Police Service told Newsday Tobago on Saturday that officers were in Signal Hill on Wednesday evening where they were fired upon and had cause to return fire. He said the gunman ran through some nearby bushes and escaped.
Moore said the police were currently investigating the matter, and that of Saturday, no one had been held in connection with the shooting, and also that no one was injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, Signal Hill residents are calling for more police patrol sin the area, and for attention to be paid to the scores of young men who lime on the streets at night, following Wednesday night’s incident.
Residents told NewsdayTobago that just after 7pm on Wednesday, loud explosions were heard in the area, followed by the sound of police sirens. They reported that an unarmed, plainclothes police officer was in the area conducting investigations when he was fired upon, and that upon hearing the gunshots, other officers who were nearby, were summoned and an exchange of gunfire ensued.
Speaking with Newsday Tobago on the condition of anonymity, residents recounted hearing over 15 gunshots along the Signal Hill main road near the Lambeau/Signal Hill junction.
One woman said that she was in the nearby shop, when she heard the shots being fired.
“Them young boys up here giving real trouble, where them getting guns that they are firing upon police? They didn’t know that the guy was an officer, owing to the fact that he was in plainclothes,” she surmised.
“I was now coming out the corner mart, I backed right back in and stayed right there,” she added.
The resident praised the quick response from the nearby police, as she called for more patrols in the area.
“The response time was good, it was prompt. I hardly come out at nights… I went to get something at the parlour when the melee happened. I understand why villagers always tell me that they don’t come out, they are afraid to walk the streets at night because anything could happen. The street is always heavily laid with a set of young boys. How do you know for certain that their intent is good? I would really like to see more patrols in the area, we need to make people comfortable again,” she said.
Another resident said that she was inside her house when she heard several loud explosions.
“I was in the kitchen preparing dinner for my family and had to immediately duck for cover. I dropped behind the chair and crawled across to the study area where my two children were and all three of us stayed on the ground until the sound stopped. I didn’t even peep out, afraid of been caught by a stray bullet,” she said.
This resident also felt a greater police presence was needed within the area.
“The police only talk to us during the yearly town meeting and then that’s it, they turn a blind eye throughout the rest of the year. Town meeting after town meeting, all we are asking is that the police provide us with more visibility…
“I am not saying that they are not present, all I am saying is that they are not visible enough, they pass through the village from time to time, but it is either their glasses are shut tight or they just speed on by,” she said.
A third resident said that she has made numerous reports to the police, time and time again, with no response.
“We have been consulting with the police on numerous occasions, I have been to the police station on numerous occasions apparently they are waiting until someone is hurt or die. Signal Hill is no longer a safe haven.
“The police are the same ones that going back and tell them who made the report on them. The fellas up here all hours of the nights, they are just idly sitting on the roadside, most with no good purpose,” she said.
This resident also claimed that mobile police patrols have decreased within the community, leaving the village vulnerable to criminals. She said there was need for increased patrols by the officers.