Brother of slain pharmacist laments out-of-control murders

Pharmacist David Rahaman, 47, was shot dead outside of his Hyderabad, St James, home on Saturday night. 
Pharmacist David Rahaman, 47, was shot dead outside of his Hyderabad, St James, home on Saturday night. PHOTO COURTESY RAHAMAN FAMILY -

A St James family is shaken after one of their members was gunned down outside his home on Saturday night.

Police said pharmacist David Samuel Rahaman, 47, was shot several times in the chest by gunmen while reversing out of the driveway of his home at Hyderabad Street, St James, at around 8 pm.

During the attack, Rahaman drove his car through the front wall of a neighbour's house as he tried to escape.

Residents heard the gunshots and called an ambulance, which took Rahaman to the Port of Spain General Hospital, where he was declared dead.

Newsday visited the family's home on Sunday and spoke with Rahaman's older brother and president of the Pharmacy Board Andrew Rahaman, who described the murder as "senseless."

He said his brother developed close ties with customers at his Petit Valley pharmacy over the years and served his community as best as he could.

"This is out of control. It's totally out of control...You hear it a lot going on, but it's difficult to see why they're not getting a handle on it (murders) and it has been for a while. It hit home now.

"I have to get some details to find out about that. So it's still senseless. He wasn't involved in anything, he was running his business.

"The business just opened. It was struggling, no big set of money was passing through the business or anything like that."

Another relative told Newsday he suspected Rahaman's death may have been linked to his trying to get back cash  he had loaned someone.

When asked if this was true, Rahaman's brother said while he heard similar rumours, he was not sure.

Newsday also spoke to Rahaman's uncle Gerard Semper, who also lives in St James. He said he heard the news of his nephew's murder from another relative.

President of the Pharmacy Board Andrew Rahaman was in a pensive mood at his family's home in St James where his brother, David, also a pharmacist, was gunned down on Saturday night. Photo by Angello Marcelle - Angelo Marcelle

Asked what he felt could be done for citizens to protect themselves, he said while the public should be vigilant and partner with the police, those in authority had a responsibility to implement stricter penalties to dissuade people from joining a life of crime.

"Trust and confidence has to be built and what happens is, whenever you find serious sanctions are being taken and action is being taken against people involved in crime, it discourages other potential criminals.

"Crime is a thing which seems to be rewarding, but with very few penalties...So the guy on the fence who sees another man prospering from crime will come off the fence and commit a crime and believe he can get away with it.

"The problem here is the sanctions really are not executed the way it should, so you would find there is a need to go back to discourage people from commiting crimes."

Newsday spoke to Rahaman's neighbour Keith Wallace, whose wall was destroyed during the attack. He said he was asleep at the time but remembered hearing a loud noise outside.

"When I came out to see what the noise was, I saw my neighbour's car through the wall with him slumped over on the seat.

"I remember the guy, he was an all right fella...I was really surprised when this happened. I just feel sad about this situation."

Wallace said he had lived in the neighbourhood for 12 years and never heard of any shootings or violent crimes before Rahaman's murder.

When Newsday visited on Sunday, police from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region I also visited the scene as part of their enquiries.

Speaking with Newsday last Thursday, acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob said strategies were under way to tackle violent crime and murders in the new year.

As of Sunday afternoon the murder toll for the year was 13.


"Brother of slain pharmacist laments out-of-control murders"

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