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GUNMEN RUN RIOT

2 killed, 3 injured in holiday shootings

By Rickie Ramdass

TWO men are dead and another is currently warded in a critical condition at hospital following three separate shootings in the Arouca, Tunapuna and Laventille areas between Tuesday night and early yesterday morning. Two others were also shot in Marabella yesterday morning, including a 13-year-old boy.

The murders took place under similar circumstances during celebratory parties ushering out Christmas.

The names of the victims have since been given as Andre Alexis, 26, of Henry Road, Tunapuna, and Sean "Papa" Charles, 27, of Seventh Avenue, Phase Three, Bon Air Gardens, Arouca.

Investigators said they were aware of the identity of one of the killers and are confident an arrest would be made soon.

The two latest killings have carried the country's murder toll for the year so far to 378, according to an Express tally. For all of last year there were 354 murders.

Police said, around 4.20 a.m., Alexis was at a house party along Lashley Street, a short distance from where he lived, when he was shot dead.

Officers said Alexis was liming along the roadway with a group of people when a gunman opened fire, hitting him in the neck. He was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope where he was pronounced dead a short while later.

Police said prior to the shooting there was an argument between Alexis and a group of men, but Alexis's family disputed this.

His aunt, Arlene Forde, told members of the media yesterday she was made aware that the situation was sparked when someone who was at the party threw a glass bottle which smashed the windshield of a car that was parked nearby.

It was then that the other group of men, who were liming close to where the car was, opened fire on the group of party-goers, said Forde.

Two other people who were also in attendance at the party were grazed by bullets, said investigators. They were treated at hospital and later discharged.

Forde told reporters her nephew was shot once in the neck.

"One of his friends called me and told me that Andre just got shot and that he was taken to the Mt Hope hospital. Less than ten minutes later is because I got another call saying that he was dead. And that was it, he was in a body bag.

"What someone told me was that somebody pelt a bottle and burst the car glass and that is when the shooting started. Everybody just started to run and Andre, after he get shot, he run into someone's yard where he fell down," said Forde.

She said Alexis was employed as a labourer with the Forestry Division.

Forde said she wanted to appeal to those in authority to do something about the country's crime situation.

"Everybody knows where the guns are. Everybody knows but no one is willing to do anything about it. Now people can't even walk the streets, they can't even go to a party and enjoy themselves. If the police were to patrol the streets more often then maybe some of this would stop," said Forde.

In the incident which took place in Arouca, police said Charles met his death when he was shot twice to the chest and once to the head by a 17-year-old boy.

It was around 6 a.m. yesterday that Charles was at a Christmas party along Ground Dove Avenue, when he got into an altercation with the boy. Investigators said the boy then pulled out the gun and shot Charles, a father of three, before running off. He was killed instantly.

Police said parties along Ground Dove Avenue were a regular occurrence but they are currently working to have those parties stopped.

"It is something regular but no one received any permission from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) or the court to host those parties," said a senior police officer.

Investigators said the 17-year-old shooter is well known to them as he has several matters for drug possession before the court. They said they were confident an arrest would be made soon.

And in the third incident in the North, around 11.15 p.m., on Christmas night, Dwight Phillip, 27, of Soogrim Trace, Laventille, was driving his truck along Laventille Road when he was fired upon.

Police said Phillip was shot in the left leg. The bullet struck a major artery in the leg causing him to bleed profusely.

Phillip was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital where up to press time last night he was warded in a critical condition.

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