Two form two female students from the same secondary school are being treated for gunshot wounds after police had a shoot-out with bandits who robbed a jewellery store at Lowlands Mall on Monday.
The teens were allegedly in the getaway vehicle which was intercepted by a police roadblock at Union village.
Two men are currently assisting police in their investigations into the $2.5 million jewellery heist.
Police sources told Newsday that around 12.39 pm on Monday, gunmen dressed in Muslim garb entered Caribbean Jewellers Ltd at the popular mall, held up the sales personnel and robbed them of jewellery. Shortly after, police received information about a gold Almera car that was involved in the robbery.
Newsday understands a roadblock was set up and police spotted a gold Almera approaching. Police say they were shot at and returned fire but the vehicle escaped through the roadblock and sped off.
Police gave chase and found the vehicle crashed into a utility pole further along the Union Road with one of the teens inside. They then set up a dragnet and two males from Golden Lane and Pump Mill were held at various points in the area.
There were initial reports that one of the suspects walked into the Scarborough Police Station on Monday evening and surrendered.
The officers said the driver of the getaway car escaped and they believe he is injured. They have alerted hospitals and health centres to look out for anyone seeking treatment for gunshot wounds.
Police said they found jewellery and Muslim apparel in the car.
A 14-year-old female form two student from Bagatelle was also found in the car with a gunshot wound to the head. She was taken to the Scarborough hospital then transferred to the Mt Hope hospital. Shortly after, another form two student, who attends the same school as the injured teen, went to the Scarborough Hospital with a gunshot wound to the hand. The Golden Lane teen was treated and is now under police guard at the hospital. Investigations are continuing.
One employee in a store next to Caribbean Jewellers told Newsday no one was aware a robbery was taking place until an alarm was raised after. Expressing shock, the employee said mall employees were traumatised, as she called for increased security patrols along with the installation of metal scanners at the various entrances to assist with detecting criminal elements operating inside the mall.
In a press release on Tuesday Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education Kelvin Charles said he was deeply saddened by the incident and even more concerned for the welfare of the students and their families. Charles urged students to be vigilant about their surroundings as well as the friends they keep.
“I really want to encourage the youth to be very cautious in these times. They are living at a time that calls for great responsibility. It is a time when their decisions can have serious implications for their lives,” Charles said.
He encouraged all students to adhere to the guidelines and instructions of their teachers, principals and the policies of their schools, noting that the division is currently awaiting further details surrounding the incident.