Monday, February 19, 2018

Autopsy: Dean shot in back at close range

An autopsy report on the death of 21-year-old Naim Dean has confirmed the young man was killed via a single gunshot wound to the back. 

This was confirmed yesterday by forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov following an autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday. 

Speaking to the Express, Alexandrov revealed Dean was shot once in his back from a distance of about three feet.

“The entrance wound was on the right upper back of his body, and the exit wound was exactly above the right collar bone. So therefore, the difference between the exit and entrance wound was significant enough for the wound to be going upwards. The only way that would be possible, was if the deceased was running, and in an attempt to remove his torso from the line of fire, he bent his upper body down and forward.  

“It is a reflexive action when we are running. He didn’t want to be shot, so he was trying to escape. He was shot just once and the bullet perforated the right lung and he lost a lot of blood. There were no other injuries on the body; he was absolute clean forensic wise. However, this is the only thing that explains the injury which killed him,” Alexandrov said.

Reports were that the Rapid Response officers intercepted an SUV with Dean and his friends on Friday night at 7.30 p.m. along the La Horquette Valley Road. Police said that while searching Dean he pushed away the officer and ran off. Police said when they ran after the man he stabbed one of the officers following which the officer shot him dead. Marijuana was allegedly found in the boy’s crotch, according to the police

Speaking yesterday during a press conference, president of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Insp Anand Ramesar, called for the shutdown of the Police’s Rapid Response Unit (RRU) which is staffed mainly by Special Reserve Police officers as they lack proper training as evidenced by the shooting death of 21-year-old Dean on Friday night. 

Officials from the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) have already initiated an investigation into what happened that night.

The Express was told yesterday that several witnesses have been interviewed by members of the PCA over the weekend and according to PCA Director, Gillian Lucky yesterday, “all of my energies these days is to uncover what happened that night.”

Ramesar along with Insp Michael Seales during a press conference  at the association’s headquarters in Port of Spain called for the SRP recruitment and training process to be revamped to prevent incidents like the shooting of Dean.

.Ramesar said, “they need to discontinue the fly by night training of these officers because the training they receive does not match the responsibility they may face or the customer service they will have to deliver.”

He added that Friday’s incident merely revealed that SRPs were not totally aware of their roles and functions. He said that, “unlike SRPs members of the Police Service have to abide by certain areas of training and the public is being shortchanged,” as he explained that SRPs merely had six weeks of training compared to a regular police officer’s six months of training.

 Seales described SRP training as “deficient,” and explained the Rapid Response Unit operated outside the control of the Police Service as the RRU was staffed primarily with SRPs.

“At least they should get regular police to patrol alongside these SRPs and the Government should at least try to regularise the management of these units,”   Seales said. 

—additional reporting by Alexander Bruzual