Friday, February 23, 2018

Body of slain robbery suspect identified

After five days, the identity of the second man who was killed last Thursday morning following a shoot-out with police was confirmed yesterday as that of Christian Ashby, of Morvant. 

Ashby’s relatives returned to the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday to formally identify the deceased man before an autopsy was performed by Dr McDonald Borris.

The autopsy confirmed Ashby died as a result of multiple gun shot injuries. 

When approached, Ashby’s relatives told the media they were too distraught to speak as they were still trying to come to terms with the killing. 

Relatives of 25-year-old Abba Diaz, who was also killed on Thursday, briefly spoke to the media after they received the autopsy results. 

Lucy, an aunt of Diaz, said the 25-year-old was a father of two young children—three years old and 11 months old—and used to do several odd jobs to make ends meet.

She said Diaz was a loving person who made the mistake of following the wrong people.

Lucy said: “He was a very respectful young man ... always kind, always caring. He was a good father to his two children and always did his best to provide for them. 

“He was just following his friend and that was how he get tied up in this scenario. You have to be wary of the company you keep, but at the end of the day, we recognise that we have to take things as they come in this life.” 

She continued: “It is unfair, we think, for the police to shoot to kill them like that, especially since people tell us a different story than what we saw being reported in the media. But we are not the type of people who will get on and block any roads or anything. We will wait and see what the investigations reveal, and hope the truth comes out.” 

According to initial police reports, officers from the North-Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF) were on mobile patrol along Saddle Road, Santa Cruz, when they received information of a house burglary in progress in the vicinity of Francis Street, around 3.45 a.m. on Thursday.

The officers went to the address and came across a gold-coloured Toyota Corolla with three occupants. 

When the alleged bandits saw the police vehicle, one of the occupants opened fire, forcing the officers to return fire. The driver then sped off, pursued by the officers.

The car ran off the road in the vicinity of the Water and Sewerage Authority pumping station near Jagan Village and the three occupants of the vehicle got out and, according to police, all the men began shooting at officers while attempting to escape. 

The officers fired back, taking cover behind their vehicles. Three of the suspects were hit, but one managed to escape.

The two injured men were taken to Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, but were both pronounced dead on arrival.

One .38 revolver and a .40 calibre Smith and Wesson pistol were recovered at the scene.

Police said an arrest is imminent for the third suspect.