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Monday 19 November 2018
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Relatives: This was an execution

Beetham teen shot 10 times

File photo: Enrique Assoon
File photo: Enrique Assoon

Beetham teenager Akiel Thomas was shot 10 times by police-issued bullets which struck him in the left and right hand, abdomen, chest and back.

However there were 22 exit wounds in his body.

The bullets shattered some of his organs and caused massive internal bleeding resulting in death minutes after he was shot.

The autopsy was conducted at the Forensic Science Centre yesterday by pathologist Dr Eastlyn Mc Donald-Burris and witnessed by police investigator into the shooting death Acting ASP Rawle Ramdeo of the Port-of-Spain CID.

Yesterday during the autopsy it was confirmed the watchman was shot 10 times, however a quantity of spent shells were also found around his lifeless body. Thomas was pronounced dead on arrival at the Port of Spain General Hospital early on Wednesday morning.

An eyewitness to the shooting death told Thomas’ relatives he saw heavily armed police officers standing over the teenager and shoot him about 17 times.

The eyewitness said he counted about 17 shots but as he was in a daze he could not recall if he heard more shots.

When this information was passed on to close relatives they accused the police of murder and said they will be exploring all avenues to seek justice.

Hours after the killing, angry Beetham residents began organising themselves to protest the killing of Thomas but were advised to avoid from any unlawful action or face the full brunt of the law.

Residents and relatives were visited by head of the Port of Spain Division Acting Snr Supt Florice Hodge-Griffith and Supt Wayne Mohammed of the Inter Agency Task Force.

The officers offered condolences and asked relatives to await the outcome of the autopsy and to get all eyewitnesses to give statements to the investigator so if any unlawful act was carried out by the police they too would feel the heavy arm of the law.

ASP Rawle Ramdeo of the Port of Spain CID was mandated to probe the killing and after yesterday’s autopsy he was expected to ask for statements from the officers who were present when Thomas was killed.

ASP Ramdeo is also expected to interview eyewitnesses. Newsday understands that there is camera footage from a house belonging to a man who police identified as a suspected gang leader.

Thomas was employed by the man to serve as a watchman. The alleged gang leader has not yet indicated if he will share the camera footage with investigators or what he intends to do with the footage.

However senior officers said yesterday the footage holds the key to what transpired over and the police service will be making every attempt to get their hands on the footage to assist them in bringing closure to the probe.

However police maintained yesterday Thomas fired on the joint team of lawmen from the Port-of-Spain CID, Inter Agency Task Force, Port-of-Spain Division and K-9 branch.

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