IN THE space of just under four hours, nine people were shot in three separate incidents in the Laventille and Morvant areas on Thursday night, resulting in two of the victims being killed.
Included among the nine was a nine-year-old boy who remains warded at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in critical condition up to late yesterday evening.
He was shot four times about the body, including the belly and upper rib cage.
The child has been identified as Josiah Washington, a standard three pupil at Eastern Boys Government Primary School.
Investigators said around 7.40 p.m., Washington, Junior Harrison, 36; Ian Isaac, 20; Sheldon Daniel, 44; and Gary George, 34; were standing outside a parlour which is owned by Washington's father along Laventille Road, when a white Nissan AD wagon with two male occupants pulled up alongside them.
The men, police said, got out the car and began shooting in the direction of the crowd before speeding off.
Police said it was unclear which member of the group was the gunmen's exact target.
Following the shooting, all five victims were rushed to Port of Spain General Hospital by residents in the area.
Washington, Isaac and George live at Mapp Lands, Laventille, while Harrison and Daniel live at Boxhill Trace and Picton Road, Laventille, respectively.
Isaac and George are also in critical condition at the Port of Spain hospital after being shot to the chest, belly and back.
Harrison and Daniel are both in stable condition nursing gunshot wounds to their legs, said police.
The boy was transferred to the EWMSC where he underwent emergency surgery on Thursday night and up to yesterday evening was in the intensive care unit.
Speaking at her Bowen Trace, Mapp Lands, home yesterday, Washington's mother, Beverly Osbourne, told reporters her son was keeping his father company at the parlour as customers purchased doubles when the incident occurred.
She said had there been more police patrols in the area, it was her belief the shooting could have been avoided.
"Police do not patrol here that often. They would pass by every now and then but it is nothing regular. If there was an increase in patrols this probably would not have happened. It would also make us feel a bit more safe, because we do not feel safe here," said Osbourne.
She described her son as a "quiet but very active" child.
Two hours after that shooting, officers of the Port of Spain Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Besson Street Police Station, led by ASP Ajith Persad and Insp Sahadeo Singh, who were still at the scene, received information that there was another shooting at a gas station in Laventille.
Police reports state that around 9.30 p.m., Kwesi Towine, 29, of Hamlet Street, St Barbs, was shot dead while seated in a car.
Investigators said Towine had stopped a white Nissan AD wagon and asked the driver to take him to Hamlet Street. It was while the driver was pulling off that another vehicle blocked its way.
A gunman then ran up to the vehicle and shot Towine several times about the body before escaping. The driver of the car, police said, drove to nearby Picton Police Post where he reported the incident.
Officers rushed Towine to Port of Spain General Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Investigators said Towine's death was not a reprisal for the earlier shootings—even though he was sitting in the same model vehicle as used at Laventille Road—but believe that it may have been drug-related.
And around 11 p.m., Anthony Collymore, 34, of Woods Alley, Never Dirty, Morvant, was standing close to a basketball court in the area in the company of two friends, Raymond and Leemon Hinds, when a white Nissan B-14 car pulled up and a man came out of the vehicle and opened fire.
All three men were shot about the body and were rushed to Port of Spain General Hospital by Emergency Health Services (EHS), but Collymore was pronounced dead on arrival.
The other two men were in serious condition at the hospital yesterday.
Visiting the scene were Supt John Daniel and Insp Ramlogan along with other officers from Morvant Police Station.
Collymore and Towine's deaths have taken the country's murder toll for the year so far to 349, according to an Express tally.
Homicide and CID officers are continuing investigations into the incidents.