"A love affair gone sour" is how a relative who identified himself as “David – a brother-in-law” summed up the murder-suicide of two police officers at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas, on Tuesday afternoon.
The two were identified as Josette Marshall, 45, who last worked at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, and her companion, acting Cpl Dwight Skeete, 42. Skeete was attached to the Court and Process Department in Port of Spain.
Reports say around 2.25 pm on Tuesday, residents heard a woman's screams coming from the house at the corner of Opal and Kestrel Boulevard.
Shortly after they heard four gunshots from the house.
Neighbours gathered at the home and called the police while a 24-year-old relatives of Marshall alerted others that she had called him moments earlier and told him she had killed Skeete and was going to take her own life.
First responders found Skeete’s body in a bedroom and Marshall’s in the corridor of his home. Both died at the scene.
ASP Persad of Homicide Region 3 told the Newsday he could not say at this time what had happened.
He said the gun used in the killings was not police-issued but was privately owned, and police would have to check the records to determine who was the owner.
Sorrow and weeping overwhelmed the community as neighbours, friends, colleagues, and family gathered, hugging and comforting each other.
Those gathered were reluctant to speak to the media.
Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher expressed deep sadness on hearing of the incident.
"Today, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is plunged into mourning at the brutal shooting involving two of our own. I wish to express the deep sadness that the TTPS experienced today following reports that two police officers were involved in a deadly shooting incident in what so far appears to be a murder-suicide."
Harewood-Christopher said Homicide Bureau officers were investigating and updates would be provided as the investigation proceeds and more information becomes available.
"We will extend the services of our Victim and Witness Support Unit to the affected families and colleagues. I extend my deepest condolences and support to the officers and their families, and to all their fellow officers in the TTPS."
The tragic loss spurred Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) president Insp Gideon Dickson to call on his colleagues to trust the professionals and the support systems in the service and seek help.
In this month in which suicide prevention is commemorated, Dickson said the way the police had lost two serving members of the organisation was both bizarre and unfortunate.
He said while the service and the organisation were not perfect, they had to be their brother’s keeper and look out for one another, both as individuals and law enforcement officers, in a meaningful and timely manner.
“Regardless of the shield we wear and the uniform we adorn, police officers are human beings too.”
He said they are affected by the same trauma, hostility, death, sickness in the public space, “not only us, but our families also. That’s why we need to have the supporting units.”
He told officers whatever the circumstances, they must preserve life, including their own.
Dickson extended condolences to the families and colleagues of both officers and said the association would made contact to offer whatever assistance it can.
(With reporting by Gregory McBurnie)