Left behind: Community liaison officer Roy Halgreaves with the siblings of murder
victim Nyam Antoine—his brother, Nyron Antoine, his sister, Nyresha Rogers, and another community liaison officer, Neil “Engine” Noel, at Duncan Street, Port of Spain, yesterday.
—Photo: GYASI GONZALES
Bloodshed in the capital
Gyasi Gonzales firstname.lastname@example.org
EVEN with a visible police presence in East Port of Spain and Laventille yesterday, gunmen played cat and mouse with patrolling officers, killing a 16-year-old pregnant girl and three other young men in what is a battle for control of “turf”.
This, in a bid to secure lucrative make-work contracts.
Police said a gang leader from Laventille is responsible for the killings of Nyam Antoine, 16, of Duncan Street, Port of Spain; and later that day his cousin, Rasheeda Gomez, also 16, who also lived at Duncan Street.
The murder spree began at 5 a.m. while Nyam Antoine was asleep at his grandmother’s apartment off Upper Duncan Street, Port of Spain.
Relatives said he suffered from sickle-cell anaemia and was never healthy.
Gunmen dragged the boy out of the house and residents said when they heard him screaming they called the police.
One resident claimed he even told two officers on patrol about what was happening. Residents claimed they were ignored.
Antoine, however, was first badly beaten by the gunmen.
Residents say the boy was so scared he soiled himself when two guns were pointed at him. The gunmen then shot him 15 times, killing him on the spot.
Several police officers, along with community liaison officers, including Roy Halgreaves, descended into the community which had experienced a wave of shoot-outs the week before.
Several residents spoke, but they had to be urged to do so with promises that their faces would not be shown.
One woman claimed it was a Laventille gang leader who was responsible for these attacks in East Port of Spain in an area known as “Rasta City”.
“They want to run the town with Muslims, but we don’t want them here,” she said.
Halgreaves, a well-known community activist, said members of the community explained to him that when a gang leader controlled an area or “turf,” no business can successfully occur in the area without the blessing of/payment to the gang leader.
He further explained (as was told to him) that make- work programmes tended to be handed out in certain communities as an attempt by the State to keep gang factions from warring with each other, but what happened was that these very attempts were actually leading to further violence.
No sooner had he left along with the police investigators another murder occurred.
Around 2 p.m., Besson Street police received another call about a murder, this time along lower Duncan Street, East Port of Spain.
The pregnant victim, Rasheeda Gomez, was at the Duncan Street apartment home of her boyfriend, Shondell Braithwaite, 18, when two gunmen broke through the front door.
They opened fire on Gomez and Braithwaite, but Gomez received the majority of the gunshots.
Neighbours called the police and an ambulance also arrived on the scene and took them both to the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Family members who arrived on the scene confirmed that Gomez was pregnant.
The Express was told by another relative that Gomez’s relatives objected to the relationship she had with Braithwaite.
About an hour later, around 3 p.m., the third murder occurred.
The victim, Shawn Lewis Jr, 17, who worked as a mechanic, was found shot dead at Trotman Street, Laventille.
He lived with his relatives at Trou Macaque, Laventille.
Police said two gunmen walked up to the teenager and opened fire on him, killing him on the spot.
Minutes later, the fourth murder occurred.
The victim, Christopher Peters, 24, was reportedly seen driving through Quarry Street, Laventille, in a silver-coloured Nissan Almera, when two gunmen pounced on him, hitting him several times in the chest.
He was found slumped behind the steering wheel of the car.
The murder toll stood at 240 up to last night, according to an Express tally.
Supt Ajith Persad, Ag ASP Sahadeo Singh and officers of the Homicide Bureau are continuing investigations.
1. Nyam Antoine, 16.
Shot dead near his Duncan Street, Port of Spain,
home around 5 a.m. yesterday. He was killed on the
spot. The motive is gang-related, according to police.
2. Rasheeda Gomez, 16.
Shot dead around 2 p.m. near the Duncan Street,
Port of Spain, apartment of her boyfriend, whom she
had gone to visit. The pregnant teenager was taken to
the Port of Spain General Hospital, where she was
pronounced dead on arrival. The motive is gang-related,
according to police.
3. Shawn Lewis, 17.
Shot dead around 3.15 p.m. at Trotman Street, Laventille,
yesterday. He died on the spot. The motive is gang-
related, according to police.
4. Christopher Peters, 24.
Shot dead around 3.45 p.m. as he drove a Nissan Almera through Quarry Street, Laventille, yesterday. He died on
the spot. The motive is gang-related, according to police.