THREE bandits who robbed a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) delivery driver of a box of chicken and chips along with cash and the driver's cellphone in Mayaro on Sunday night, were later killed in a shootout with police who cornered them in an abandoned house.
A fourth suspect who managed to escape, remained on the run up to press time.
Police said that shortly before 9 pm, a 41-year-old delivery driver from KFC went to Mischier Road to drop off an order.
A man pretending to be a customer approached the driver who had parked his car on the roadside. While the "customer" kept the driver's attention, three other men armed with a gun, a cutlass and a knife respectively, approached and attacked the driver.
The four robbed the driver of the KFC meal order, cash and his cellphone. They ran towards a track at the beach front.
A report was made and officers from Mayaro CID and the Eastern Division Task Force responded with one police source saying they immediately "took up strategic positions."
The police confronted the suspects at an abandoned beach house on Church Road and when the armed suspect began shooting, officers took cover and returned gunfire. Three of the bandits were fatally wounded.
The fourth man jumped over a concrete wall and ran off.
When Newsday visited the scene on Monday, there were KFC chips packets still on the ground smeared with blood. There were also two bandanas believed to belong to the bandits.
Police said a gun with one bullet, spent casings, a cutlass, a knife, a cellular phone and cash were all found at the scene shortly after the shooting.
Relatives of one of the dead men later blamed "bad company," for their loved one's demise.
The police named two of the three dead men as Kory Gilbert, 19, of Mischier Road, and Antonio "Mata" St Rose, 21, of Bel Air Road, both in Mayaro. The third dead suspect was unidentified up to Monday evening.
"He hanged with the wrong crowd. His grandmother is a churchwoman who tried her best with him. Kory was a quiet, peaceful and humble person. She (his grandmother) said he had no reason to do what he did," said a relative of Gilbert who was interviewed on Monday afternoon at the family's home.
She asked that her name not be published.
Gilbert lived with his grandmother and other relatives after his mother's death when he was a child.
The relative said he aspired to join the army. He completed secondary school last year and had been searching for work.
A resident, who asked not to be named, said Gilbert began liming on the road "all hours of the night," with strange men.
"We heard that the person who claimed to make the KFC order was a Mr Mohan. There is no one here by that name," the Mischier Road resident said.
When Newsday visited St Rose's relatives, they declined to comment.
A woman who claimed she had been taking care of him since he was six, said she did not want to interfere with the investigation by making any comments.
One of St Rose's friends told Newsday he (St Rose) was released from prison last year after serving three years for armed robbery. The friend said that both of St Rose's parents had died many years ago, and that he "more or less" had given up on life.
"Mata loved to impress girls. He was depressed after his parents' deaths and he gave up on life and felt there was no one there for him. His aunt was looking after him since the parents' deaths. He last worked at a hardware in Guayaguayare," the friend said.
Efforts on Monday evening to get comments from officials of Prestige Holdings, which holds the local franchise for KFC, proved futile.