A GUN-WIELDING bandit was shot dead by a police officer yesterday morning when he and another man attempted to rob a maxi-taxi along the Priority Bus Route in Arouca.
The dead man was identified yesterday as Stephen Henry, 20, of Beetham Gardens.
The other bandit escaped.
Henry was said to be well known to police and had a robbery with aggravation matter pending in the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court, for which he was out on bail.
The maxi-taxi driver, who spoke to the Express, did not want to be identified.
Arouca police were also unwilling to release the name of the police officer who shot Henry.
The driver said around 8.30 a.m. he picked up 25 passengers at the Arima maxi-taxi stand when the two bandits entered.
Also in the maxi-taxi was a plainclothes police constable, who was part of a team of officers detailed to investigate a spate of maxi-taxi robberies along the Arima to Port of Spain route.
The driver said he began collecting his fare and noticed that one of the men sat close to the door, while another was on the aisle directly behind the driver.
After collecting his fare he drove the maxi on to the bus route and began heading west.
When the maxi got to Cane Farm, Arouca, one of the bandits pressed the bell for the maxi to stop, which the driver did.
"One of the guys who was sitting behind me then reached over and began picking up my money and a phone and then he began putting his hands in my pocket," said the driver.
"I could not see if he had a gun but I switched off the engine as he ordered me to remove the keys from the ignition, which he then picked up."
The other bandit (Henry) drew a pistol, unravelled two crocus bags and began walking down the aisle, ordering the 25 passengers to "pass thing, money, phone every f****** thing".
One of the other passengers, who also did not want to be named, told the Express: "They need to give that policeman a medal because he was able to scope out them bandit as they board the bus."
He said that Henry attempted to rob the officer but the policeman drew his own pistol and fired at the bandit.
The first bandit ran out the maxi when he heard the gunshot, dropping the driver's keys, while Henry stumbled back and, with his bags of loot still in hand, also ran out the vehicle.
Henry dropped the bag which contained, along with the phones and jewelry he had just stolen, $6,000 belonging to a woman who had made a large withdrawal to conduct business.
Henry then ran towards Cane Farm Junction, with the constable in pursuit.
Running through Cane Farm Road, Henry went onto the Eastern Main Road and ran into LB's Supermarket, where he told two security officers he had just been stabbed.
But the policeman, who got to the supermarket afterwards, explained to the guards that Henry, who had collapsed, was not a victim but a perpetrator.
An Emergency Medical Services ambulance was called, but by the time Henry got to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, Mt Hope he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Arouca police are continuing investigations.