Some Guanapo residents and relatives of the victims of Thursday’s massacre have reportedly fled the area in fear.
On Thursday morning, gunmen stormed the house and opened fire, killing siblings ten-year-old Faith Peterkin, Ariana, 14, Shane, 17, and Tiffany, 19. Five others, including two children, were wounded.
Newsday visited the community on Friday and was greeted by silence and locked doors.
The house in which the massacre occurred was uninhabited, and the yard was deserted apart from some livestock and two dogs. The doors and windows of the surrounding houses were closed, with curtains drawn.
One resident eventually spoke to the media, saying many of the people in nearby houses packed up their belongings and fled sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning.
Newsday asked her if she intended to join the exodus of people leaving the community. A passing farmer who heard the question shouted, “The whole neighbourhood done move out.”
Another remaining resident who has been in communication with the family dispelled rumours of a fifth member of the family dying.
Hospital sources say the children who survived the shooting had surgery on Thursday night and remain warded.There was no word on the whereabouts of the two surviving adults.
One relative denied social media claims that the massacre was retribution for a robbery committed by a family member. Speaking with Newsday, she said none of the family members was involved in crime.
“Dat is not true, dem doh be in no gun ting…we does keep to ourselves, we don’t meddle.”
She also dismissed claims on social media that a certain male family member was involved in a gang.
“We never in no gang ting with nobody. You could ask anybody, them never used to be in no gang.”
The relative said the teenagers who had been shot spent most of their time at school or playing in the yard with other children in the community. She added that the family was at a loss as to the motive behind the shooting.
“Them children was love. I doh know who do it and why they do it. And they come in a house and only kill little children. Whoever do this should pay daily for it.
"We have to be strong.”
The relative said the family hoped the police could provide some justice.
Other residents, however, have less faith in the police, as they claim the police patrols have not been as regular as they had hoped.
After the incident, Snr Supt Kerwin Francis of the TTPS Northern Division said there would be an increased police and army presence in the area.
Speaking on TV6’s Beyond the Tape programme, he said, “These patrols will continue on an ongoing 24-hour basis until a level of normalcy is restored to the community.”
Residents say the police were camped out in the street Thursday night but left sometime on Friday morning Newsday arrived at the scene at 8.30 am on Friday, and there were no police vehicles. Police returned around 12.30 pm and spent under ten minutes in the area.
When Newsday left at 1 pm, another marked police vehicle was seen entering the street.
Several residents, who did not want to be identified, said the frequency of the patrols was insufficient, and the community still feels unsafe.
“We scared are here. I’m scared to sleep in my own house. Whole night we up because we afraid if they come back.”
Another resident said she hadn’t moved away as she had nowhere else to move to, before adding, “But if I have a child I don’t want them to grow up in this environment. I want them to be in a safer place.”
Farther away from the crime scene, other members of the community said the police should bear some blame for the situation. They said the police failed to consistently patrol the area, and when they did, they never entered the street on which the killings occurred.
They said there have been several robberies in the area within recent years and this has dented the community spirit.
“We don’t have any Christmas parties in the community again. It’s not safe.”
Thursday’s shooting has left residents feeling even more hopeless.
“Shops are now closing by 6 pm. Before, a parent coming home from work could pick up something for their child for the next day, but now it have none of that.”
Another resident said, “I have burglarproof and dogs and I still not feeling safe, because a bullet could rest down a dog.”
Police said they were unable to disclose the exact number and timings of patrols to protect operational security.
One resident singled out Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher and called on her to “do a better job.
“They need to revamp the service, because they need a different perspective. They need change.”
Newsday also tried to contact the councillor for the area, Roger Moore, to ask whether he was able to help the family as promised on Thursday. Calls to his phone on Friday went unanswered. Moore responded to a WhatsApp message for comment with an invitation to send an e-mail so that our concerns could be “addressed accordingly.”