Valentine’s Day turned bloody in Central Trinidad yesterday when a gunman who laughed as he shot dead a businessman in Cunupia was himself killed along with his accomplice within an hour during a shootout with police.
The men were shot by police following a chase through Central Trinidad, which ended in Freeport.
The Express was told by police that around 10.30 a.m., 45-year-old businessman Darren Shane Painter was shot at his business place at Southern Main Road.
Painter, of Raghunanan Road, Cunupia, was the owner of an auto rental and leasing business, and cellular and accessories outlet.
Police said Painter had several court matters.
A suspect approached Painter as he stood outside his business place, police said. Witnesses told police the gunman laughed as he shot Painter, who died at the scene. A gun was found near Painter’s body.
The killer left in a Mazda 3 car, which police later found abandoned at Ince Drive, Cunupia.
Police were told the gunman, the driver and a third man then got into a Volkswagen Jetta and were headed south along the Solomon Hochoy Highway when a party of police officers of the Central and Southern Divisions and aerial support, led by Senior Supt Johnny Abraham, Insp Williams and Sgt Tooleram, began their pursuit.
The suspects abandoned the vehicle in Freeport near the Highway Roti Shop and fled into the bushes, the Express was told. Police said officers searched the area and when the bandits were confronted, there was a shootout.
Two suspects were shot. They were taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility where they were pronounced dead. The third suspect was arrested.
The identities of the suspects were not disclosed up to late yesterday. The surviving suspect is expected to go before identification parades to determine whether he was involved in other crimes.
Painter was charged in 2003 in Tobago with two other men for alleged possession of false US currency.
In December, Painter escaped unhurt after a gunman shot at a car in which he was a passenger in Mon Repos, San Fernando. The driver was shot in his chest and survived.
Painter’s killing has taken the murder toll for 2014 to 70 compared with 52 in 2013.