Friday, December 15, 2017

‘Cop shot in gun battle’

Soldiers were up to last night combing Cameron Hill, Petit Valley searching for eight heavily-armed men who fired at police officers earlier yesterday injuring one.

Police said officers of the Western Division Task Force were on patrol along Cameron Hill, around 2 p.m. but when they got to Guardia Street they were forced to stop their vehicle to remove three large boulders that had been placed across the road.

The officers got out their SUV and while moving the boulders out of the way they said they were fired on. Police said the officers did not get the opportunity to return fire and one of their colleagues, PC Clement David,  was shot in his thigh.

They took him to the Port of Spain General Hospital.

The area was then locked down.

Residents heading to and from their homes were subject to their cars being searched in case the gunmen were attempting to flee the area by hiding in someone’s trunk.

Cameron Hill residents flatly denied there was an exchange of gunfire between the police and the eight men who are said to reside in the area. One man, who did not want his name mentioned, said the area was largely a peaceful one and their only issue was not crime and guns but rather a lack of a water supply.

That was not what the Express witnessed first hand yesterday however.

Supported by one of the National Operations Centre (NOC) helicopters, scores of rifle-toting soldiers along with some of their counterparts in the Police Service were heard trading shots with the eight gunmen.

The area is largely a farming community, sparsely populated and mostly quiet. At times the silence however was interrupted by the sound of the gunmen’s AR-15s which uses 7.62 calibre ammunition, police said. The ammunition is military grade and has a much further effective killing range compared to a 9 mm ammunition and the 5.56 ammunition which most of the police and Regiment officers were using yesterday, police said.

“Allyuh see what we does have to be going through,” said one corporal as he held on to his MP 5 machine gun and kept glancing nervously at the hills above him.

“Listen I will say this. They could shoot at me if they want but I am going home to my wife tonight,” he said.