Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Killed for refusing to pay 'protection money'

Crime scene: Undertakers remove the body of one of the victims of ­yesterday’s double homicide from the scene at Penco Lands, Longdenville. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

: Sterling Joseph

: Naresh Bhawanie

Naresh Bhawanie did not want to pay “protection money” to thugs so they killed him and an employee yesterday.

This is one of the theories police are working on in the killing of Bhawanie and Sterling Joseph in Chaguanas.

Bhawanie, 22, the owner of Agua Splash Car Wash, and Joseph, 26, who were shot multiple times, died at the business place at Penco Lands, Longdenville.

The shooting happened around 11.30 a.m. while the men were working. They were shot several times in the head and upper body.

Police believe the killers were armed with semi-automatic weapons, as scores of spent shells were retrieved from the scene.

Bhawanie's step-mother, Afrose Bhawanie, told the Express his killing was a shock to the family.

“He is one of the nicest, most pleasant (of) persons. I have no idea why someone would want to kill him,” she said.

She said he was the father of a two-year-old child.

The Express was told Bhawanie and ­Joseph were friends for several years and lived close by.

Homicide detectives said information on the double killing was difficult to obtain since no one claimed to have witnessed the crime.

However, they received information ­Bhawanie had been previously approached to pay for protection against criminals, but he refused.

His family said they were not told if there were threats on his life.

Police are also exploring another ­theory that one of the deceased and one of the ­killers were involved with the same woman.

The bodies were removed for an ­autopsy to be conducted today at Forensic Science Centre, St James. The killings have taken the ­murder toll to 76, ­according to an Express tally.