Bloodbath – 3 killed in Arima, 5 in Tunapuna, 1 in St James on Wednesday

Police and crime scene investigators at the scene of a triple murder near George Boyce Recreation Ground snd Ridgelandd Park Road on the Arima Old Road, Arima, on Wednesday. - ROGER JACOB
Police and crime scene investigators at the scene of a triple murder near George Boyce Recreation Ground snd Ridgelandd Park Road on the Arima Old Road, Arima, on Wednesday. - ROGER JACOB

Investigators from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II were kept busy up to Wednesday afternoon when they responded to reports of eight murders between Arima and Tunapuna. There was a ninth in St James.

In the first incident police received reports of a triple murder near the George Boyce recreation ground on the Arima Old Road, Arima at around 8.37 am.

Police said Teshera McKenna, 39, and her son Jordan McKenna, 19, were driving in a car when they were confronted by gunmen who blocked their path and started shooting at them.

A family friend identified as Jeremiah DeFreitas, 18, who was standing near the car was also shot and killed during the attack. The gunmen drove away.

Members of the Northern Division Task Force, Arima CID and Homicide Region II visited the scene with a district medical officer who declared the three dead.

Police cordoned off the road leading to the crime scene causing drivers to find an alternate route as some expressed frustration over the inconvenience, while others were shocked to hear about the murders.

One taxi driver, who asked to be identified only as Morris, said he was accustomed working on the Arima Old Road and was concerned for his own safety.

"What would have happened if I happened to be driving right behind that car when those men start to shoot?

"It could have easily been me or one of my passengers. And look at the time this happened too. This is nonsense."

Some of the relatives of five murder victims console each other as the observe police on upper St John's Road, Tunapuna on Wednesday. - ROGER JACOB

Minutes later at 9.05 am police received a report of a shooting in St John's Road, Tunapuna, where three people were shot.

Police said vendor Jasper Jones was at his shop on St John's Road, Tunapuna with Mathew Calliste Pereira and Kaliele Jackson when a white Nissan AD Wagon approached them and five men got out shooting at them.

Jones, 32, died on the scene.

Residents took Pereira and Jackson to the hospital where they died shortly after.

Members of the Northern Division visited the area. While there, they received a report that two bodies were found a short distance away in the same area.

Police went and found the bodies of Mustaph Mohammed, 44, and Amanda Mohammed.

Speaking with reporters at the scene DCP Intelligence and Operations McDonald Jacob said police were considering the possibility that the murders from Arima and those in Tunapuna were related but could not confirm this theory or a possible motive.

"We believe that both sets of murders are connected. The detectives are on the ground and we are preparing for any sort of reprisal that may occur in this division.

"As you know, this division is very volatile in relation to the numbers of shootings and murders over the years. Yes we have enough officers and reinforcement to respond to the situation, however, this that happened this morning is something we will respond to."

Asked whether the state of emergency was ineffective in tackling gang violence and murders, Jacob said there was no guarantee that the current regulations would eliminate murders.

"Once you have gang activities in any country, whether or not there is a state of emergency, these activities continue. These things can happen.

"The state of emergency doesn't remove organised crime and gang activities, if it were so we could call a state of emergency and all the violence would end.

"We don't expect because we have an SoE all of a sudden criminal activities will be removed."

The murders all took place within the Northern Division, one of the largest police divisions in TT which begins from St Joseph and extends to Wallerfield.

While officers of the Northern Division were working on their cases, the Western Division was also called into action when a 29-year-old St James man became the ninth person to be killed on Wednesday.

Police said Jamal Jones, was at his home at around 12.45 pm when he saw a man shooting a gun in the air.

Jones approached the man and asked him to stop, but the man shot Jones before running away.

Relatives heard the gunshots and took Jones to the St James Infirmary where he died at around 1.05 pm while undergoing emergency surgery.

Up to press time on Wednesday the murder toll for 2021 was 203 compared to 245 for the same period in 2020.

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"Bloodbath – 3 killed in Arima, 5 in Tunapuna, 1 in St James on Wednesday"

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