found hiding under bed: Akil Stafford

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Cops kill robbery suspect

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinuidadexpress.com

AKIL STAFFORD was fatally shot by police officers yesterday.

This is as far as the police and Stafford's family and friends agree on the circumstances surrounding the 21-year-old's death.

Stafford, according to officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF), was wanted in connection with several shootings and robberies.

He was wanted by detectives of both the San Juan and Tunapuna Criminal Investigation Departments (CIDs), NEDTF officers stated.

NEDTF officers received information yesterday that Stafford was seen in the Mt Hope Extension Road area in Mt Hope. The officers responded.

Around 11 a.m., the NEDTF officers drove to Mt Hope Extension Road where they saw Stafford and another suspect. The men ran.

Stafford was eventually found hiding beneath a bed inside a house in the area.

There was a confrontation between Stafford and one of the officers. Stafford pointed a gun at the officer and in an effort to protect himself the officer shot him (Stafford).

NEDTF officers carried Stafford to Port of Spain General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

A fully-loaded .38 revolver was recovered.

The other suspect is currently in custody at Morvant Police Station.

But residents of Mt Hope Extension Road gave a different version of the event.

Salisha Hosein, 30, said she was seated in the front porch of her home with her sister when they saw police officers running in their area.

Police began searching all the houses in the area, Hosein said. The home of Hosein, a single mother of three, was searched last.

Hosein's thee-year-old son, Jovell, and five-year-old niece, Sadie, were inside the house.

Hosein said the officers ordered her and the children to go to another home in the area. Stafford was found hiding beneath Hosein's bed.

"I did not know somebody went inside my house. When they went inside my house I heard shots fired inside my house," Hosein said

"I do not find that was fair, that was unfair to me because is me and my three children living here alone," she said.

Hosein's home was ransacked. Stafford's blood was splattered around the bedroom and a bullet hole was in one of the walls.

"I was cooking. They dig up all in my rice, they dig up all in my peas what I now done cook, what they could put inside my peas that I now done cook," Hosein said.

"They ripped down my curtains and brought out the body from inside my house."

Hosein claimed $10,000 she kept in a drawer has gone missing since the police entered her home and rummaged through it.

Stafford's cousin, Judith Joseph, also questioned the actions by the NEDTF officers.

"They had no right to shoot him like that, they just wicked. I am not saying he (Stafford) was an angel or a saint but the police just wicked," Joseph said.

"Allyuh come for a certain fella, allyuh get him under a bed, why did you have to shoot him? He did not have a gun, I bet they will say they found a gun on him. They had him in a corner where he could not come out so there was no need to shoot him," she said.

Stafford's death is the third police killing for the year.

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