A COAST GUARD officer survived a deadly ambush yesterday morning which left two of his friends dead.
Chief Petty Officer Stephen Roberts and two other men were attacked by gunmen in the Laventille area as a result of an on-going gang war which the three men were not a part of.
Police claimed one of the men who was shot was related to a gang leader and that was the reason they were attacked.
Police said around 8.30 a.m., Anthony Phillips, 32; Wilfred Hinds, 43, both of Laventille; and Roberts, aged 49, of San Juan, were standing along Village Council Street, Block 22, Laventille, when residents heard approximately 20 gunshots.
Police said as the men stood along the road talking they were approached by two gunmen who opened fire on them.
Phillips died on the spot, while Hinds and CPO Roberts were taken to Port of Spain General Hospital by the police.
Hinds was pronounced dead on arrival, while Roberts, who was shot twice in his neck, remains in stable condition at the hospital.
Since Thursday, there have been four shooting deaths, including Phillips and Hinds, of people from the Laventille area—Keshawn Quashie, 17, of Corbin Trace, St Barbs Road, Laventille, was found shot dead down a precipice off Lady Young Road in Morvant last Thursday morning, followed by Kwesi Towine, 29, who was shot dead near his Hamlet Trace, St Barbs, Laventille home on Thursday night.
The Express was on the scene of the latest incident yesterday morning and spoke to a few residents about what happened.
Kevin Phillips, who is Anthony Phillips' brother, heard what had happened and ran over to the scene to confirm if it was true. Despite shouts from his friends not to look at the body he ran through the police's crime scene tape and knelt down besides his brother.
"No, no, no," he cried.
The police were not harsh with him even though he violated one of their evidence rules.
Gently, they lifted him and pulled him away from the body, covered by a white sheet.
"I eh taking that you know. I eh taking that," said Phillips.
"Everybody know who do it but they wouldn't say nothing!" he shouted.
Most other residents the Express met at the scene ran from the cameras, muttering to themselves: "Me eh want to be next nah."
A woman nearby appeared to share the brother's pain and turned to a friend and said: "I does just pray to God that nobody call me and tell me my brother on the ground."
Some other residents were heard talking about Sunday's National Security Laventille Family Day at the Queen's Park Savannah, which they described as "so nice".
"Is only yesterday they had this thing (the family day) and look at what they doing now," a woman was heard saying.
Another woman who did not want to be named said, "Is stupidness going on in Laventille and people are not doing what they are supposed to be doing because they just want to sit back and say nothing."
"Right around is some of the children I teach getting killed. Innocent victims in Laventille getting shot dead and they want to say is gang-related. It's not any gang-related killing, it's just innocent people getting shot," she said.
"They spend how much millions (Sunday) and all people do was to just eat food, but the Government need to get with the programme. Come into Laventille and see the situation.
"Them young fellas and them here only want rank...them big thing is I just make ah ghost but this thing can't be right. This man (as she pointed at Phillips' body) had a family. He had a mother and a father," she said.
The murder toll stood at 353 up to press time last night, according to an Express tally, while last year's figure was 307 around this same time.