GANG warfare yesterday claimed the lives of a father and his two sons who had nothing to do with an on-going battle between gangs from Beetham Gardens and Laventille.
It was alleged that the motive behind the triple homicide was so that a message would be sent to a particular gang member who was related to the three deceased.
The triple homicide took the murder toll, according to an Express count, to 44.
According to the police, two gunmen entered the home of Kerwyn Melville, aged 39, at Eastern Quarry, Laventille around 2 a.m. and opened fire.
Melville was hit several times about the body and died instantly.
Thirteen-year-old Jahleel Hakim Melville was hit as well and also died instantly, while Kerwyn Melville's other son, Shakeil Melville, aged 16, was also shot.
Shakeil Melville died around 9 a.m. at Port of Spain General Hospital.
A team of officers led by Supt Ajith Persad, along with Sgt Swamber and PCs Romeo and Nankoo, visited the scene and an attempt was also made by officers of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) to find the two gunmen, but to no avail.
Police explained that although Kerwyn, Jahleel and Shakeil Melville had nothing to do with any gang-related activity, they have a close male relative who is reportedly in a gang.
Police also said that because of the rival gang's inability to find this particular gang member, they murdered his relatives to "send a message" to this man.
The Express met with relatives of the Melvilles' yesterday morning at the Forensic Science Centre in Federation Park, where a post-mortem examination of the three bodies was done by forensic pathologist Dr Valerie Alexandrov. He concluded that the two teenage boys and their father died as a result of the multiple gunshot injuries they suffered.
None of the Melvilles' relatives wanted their names used.
They described Kerwyn Melville as "a decent guy who used to help everyone in his neighbourhood".
"Everybody liked him," said the relative.
Jahleel Melville was a form one student at Success/Laventille Secondary School.
Relatives described him as an avid cricketer "and he was doing very well in school and we never heard any complaints about him".
They added: "He really loved cricket and he was in the cricket club in his school and he was really a nice li'l dude."
Shakeil Melville was a form three student at Russell Latapy High School in Morvant.
He, too, was an avid cricketer.
"Right now we are at a loss as to why something like this happened to this family," said the relative.
He said that on Wednesday they had a funeral for another relative, Augustine Daniel, aged 25, who was murdered near his home at Eastern Quarry, Laventille on January 30.
Investigations are continuing.