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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Rancho Quemado residents scared to talk about fatal shooting

The house at Rancho Quemado Road, in which Robert Mendoza and his  common law wife Ellen Joseph, a nursing student,  was sitting with other relatives when bandits entered their home and shot them. Photo: Vashti Singh - Vashti Singh
The house at Rancho Quemado Road, in which Robert Mendoza and his common law wife Ellen Joseph, a nursing student, was sitting with other relatives when bandits entered their home and shot them. Photo: Vashti Singh - Vashti Singh

THE residents of Rancho Quemado, Palo Seco remain tightlipped regarding a fatal shooting that took place in that area on Tuesday night.

Just after 8 pm, gunmen broke into the home of Robert Mendoza and his wife Ellen Joseph, 30, a student nurse, and trained their guns at the couple. Joseph and Mendoza received several gunshots about the body. The couple was rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital where Joseph succumbed to her injuries. Her husband is now in critical condition at hospital under police surveillance.

When Newsday visited the area, today the house where the couple lived was left abandon. The neighbouring houses were closed and there was no one in sight. A villager who was returning home from work stopped his vehicle to say the victims lived a secluded life and they knew nothing about them. The villager who requested anonymity said Rancho Quemado is a quiet village where people greeted each other with courtesy. “Today we are hearing that these people are linked to drug lords but we have not witnessed any kind of drugs-related transactions taking place in this area.” This just goes to show, he said that people may look decent but one can never tell what is happening. A retires police officer said he heard of the shooting but that all he is willing to say at this point.

Police are now investigating a possible drug link as the motive to this fatal shooting. Reports say Joseph and Mendoza were in the living room of their home with other relatives when two men with firearms entered. Police were told that although other relatives, including children, were in the room the gunmen fired only at Joseph and Mendoza, hitting them in the upper body. The gunmen ran out of the house and fled in a white Nissan Tiida.

South Western Division Task Force responded with Senior Supt Deonarine Basdeo, Supt Brian Ramphal, and officers of Siparia, Santa Flora, and Erin rushing to the scene of the crime.

Searches lead officers to the get-away vehicle which was found burnt near Los Iros beach. Police suspect that the gunmen escaped on a boat off the Los Iros coast.

Insp Corrie and others of Homicide Reigion III are continuing investigations.

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