MOTHER’S GRIEF: Molly Diram, mother of 19-year-old Anil Diram, displays a photo of her son who was shot dead outside a bar in Preysal early yesterday morning. —Photo: Dave Persad


3 shot dead outside bar

Soldier among victims

By Carolyn Kissoon

Three men—a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, a businessman and a teenager—were shot dead in a drive-by shooting outside a bar in Preysal, Couva, yesterday.
Lance Corporal Rawle Fletcher, 34, was shot multiple times in the head, while his best friend, businessman Mitra Maharaj, was hit about the body.
Anil Diram, a 19-year-old National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) student, was shot in the chest.
Police said Fletcher, of Polo Grounds Road, Preysal, was liming with Maharaj, of Orchard Gardens, Chaguanas, outside Sandy Annan Bar, near Inshan Ali Park in Preysal, when they were killed around 3.25 a.m.
Diram, of Gran Couva, was walking to his friend’s car outside the bar when he was hit by a bullet. He was part of an all fours tournament taking place at the bar.
Police said Fletcher and Maharaj were standing between two cars in the parking lot when a man walked up to them. He looked at Fletcher and smiled before returning to his vehicle.
Investigators said the car moved forward and then reversed, before the occupants opened fire on the men.
Patrons at the bar began running to safety, but Diram was caught in the gunfire.
Police said a back seat passenger walked out of the car, stood over Fletcher and Maharaj and shot them multiple times.
Fletcher’s relatives have appealed for security, as the killers remain unknown.
A female relative, who requested anonymity, said Fletcher was known as the “mayor” of Preysal.
She said he was loved by everyone in the community.
“We heard the gunshots because we live close to the bar. And we heard a vehicle speeding away, then we heard some boys from the area screaming and calling out to us. They said Rawle was shot. We went and saw him lying on the ground. He and Mitra were best friends. They were always together,” she said.
Fletcher, who played football for several teams including Defence Force and W Connection, was the father of three children—ages 13, 12 and ten, his relative said.
“He was also the football coach at Preysal High School. He was the last person I saw before I went to bed. He was inside his building, where he was going to open a bar, sweeping and cleaning. Mitra was sitting on a stool and talking to him,” she said.
The relative said Fletcher had planned to open a bar next month. She said he was looking forward to his annual Boxing Day get-together this year.
“We don’t know who the killers are, so we want some kind of protection for his family. We are living in fear right now,” the relative said.
Maharaj, 45, owned an air-conditioning company, police said.
Diram’s stepfather, Steve Bahaw, said his family was distraught by the teenager’s death.
Bahaw said his stepson enjoyed playing cards with his friends and was excited about the all fours tournament.
“His mother and I dropped him off to the game. And about 3.30 a.m. we received a call that something happened to him. We went to the bar and I saw him lying on the ground. I thought he drink too much and fall down, but then I saw two other bodies,” he said.
Bahaw said the teen and his friends were walking to a car in the parking lot when the gunshots began.
“His friend was walking in front and he ran, but Anil get the shot. He was innocent, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Bahaw said the family’s plans for Christmas ended with Diram’s death.
“I don’t think we will ever have a Christmas again. He just finish school and start this air-condition course. He was a good boy,” he said.
Bahaw said the teen’s mother, Molly Diram, was devastated by her son’s death.
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