Friday, February 23, 2018

2 gunned down in separate killings


IN GRIEF: Withney Griffith  sister of  Keon Griffith who was gunned down in Laventille on Friday night, speaks to the Sunday Express at their home yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

 A father of one was among two men who were gunned down on Friday night in separate shooting incidents in Diego Martin and Laventille, officially pushing the murder toll to 169. 

The deceased are 30-year-old Matthew Weekes and 26-year-old Keon Griffith. 

The latest incident took place at about 12.10 a.m. yesterday. 

According to police reports Weekes, aka “Cox” of Sea Trace, Bagatelle, was at home with his girlfriend when a lone gunman entered through a door on the southern side of the house. The gunman came up to him and, without warning, shot him several times at close range. 

The suspect then ran out the house and made good his escape. 

Weekes’ girlfriend was said to be uninjured during the incident. 

The police were notified and a party of officers from the Western Division and the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, including Supt Edwards, Sgt Bacchus and PC Gordon visited the scene. 

Crime Scene Investigators also reportedly recovered several spent shells and a district medical officer ordered the body’s removal to the Forensic Science Centre in St James where an autopsy is expected to be performed tomorrow. 

Police said Weekes was well known to them as he had several prior matters before the courts.

His relatives refused to speak to the media when approached yesterday, saying they were in a state of shock and were simply trying to mourn their loved one in peace. 

About four hours prior, residents of Upper Maplands, Laventille, heard several loud explosions and when they came out found 24-year-old Martin King lying on the roadway in a pool of blood. He had been shot multiple times about his body. The police and emergency health services were notified and King was rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital where he was treated. However, King informed the officers that cousin, 26-year-old Keon Griffith, had also been shot. 

The policemen conducted a search of the area, but they were unable to locate                                                                               Griffith  up to late that night and the search had to be called off. Despite the lack of visibility, Griffith’s relatives continued their search for the missing man even when the police had left, and just after 8 a.m. they were horrified to find his body lying in a track near his home. 

He had been shot multiple times about his upper torso, and had broken his arm. Next to his body was also a trail of blood, leading investigators to believe that the father of one was pursued by his attackers. The police were notified and a party of officers from the Port of Spain Task Force, the Port of Spain CID, the Besson Street Police Station and the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, returned to the scene. 

Speaking with Sunday Express yesterday at Griffith’s home, his mother, Cheryl, said her family was just in a state of shock over the incident. 

“I want to categorically state, that Keon was not a gang man. He was not in any gang activities, he was not even in any criminal activities. Those youths there, killed an innocent man last night. Keon goes from work to home and back to work again. Even if he has to lime, he doesn’t leave the steps to this home. I am not one of those mothers who merely talked, I took an active roll in his life. I ensured that he was on the right track and was doing the right thing in his life.  So this death here, is especially painful for me, because he didn’t deserve it. I did everything right and put him on the                                                                                    right path and they still killed him,” Cheryl said. 

Griffith’s sister, Wendy, recalled that on Friday afternoon, her brother had come home from work and had taken a bath before he got a call to walk up the steps to meet his cousin. 

“So he said he would be right back, and he walked up the steps. But like them gunmen was there long time hiding in the darkness, because a man from the area said he was walking home, and he noticed something move and when he start to look closer, he hear a voice saying ‘we not on you uncle, move along’ so he just walked straight to his home. Next thing you know we hearing a set of gunshots. But the police couldn’t find him because it have no lights in the area, and no matter how many times we plead with the authorities to fix it they’ve never come,” Whitney said. 

Investigations into both murders are continuing. 

—Alexander Bruzual