IN the midst of a major police exercise in the Laventille area yesterday morning, a man was shot dead while his two sisters suffered gunshot wounds.
The police exercise was undertaken in an effort to combat gang warfare in the crime-stricken community.
The killing took place shortly after 9 a.m., even as close to 300 members of the Regiment and the Police Service were conducting the anti-crime exercise.
And despite assistance from the Air Support Unit, which was also part of the exercise, up to yesterday evening police had not arrested the person responsible for the murder of 38-year-old Aasim Lemaitre.
Officers said they were conducting the exercise when, around 9.15 a.m., they received a call informing them of a shooting at Leau Place, off Laventille Road.
Detectives said when they went to the scene, they found Lemaitre's body slumped behind the steering wheel of his silver B13 motorcar.
Also injured in the attack were Lemaitre's two sisters, Penika and Anisha Ray, who both live at St Barbs in Laventille. They were passengers in the car at the time of the shooting.
Penika, 17, a pupil at Tranquillity Government Secondary School, was grazed close to her left eye by one of the bullets, while Anisha, 20, was shot in the back of the head, police said.
Up to yesterday evening, she remained in critical condition at the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Lemaitre's murder has taken the country's murder toll for the year so far to 33, with 15 of those murders taking place in the Port of Spain district. For all of January last year, there were 38 murders.
Investigators said Lemaitre, of Upper St Francois Valley Road, Belmont, was driving his car along the roadway when a gunman opened fire on the vehicle, hitting him several times about the body.
Despite being shot, police said he tried to drive away from the scene but soon fell unconsciousness before crashing his car into a concrete culvert. Detectives said they have not established a clear motive for his killing.
Contacted by TV6 News yesterday evening, Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson said the crime situation demanded the Police Service take strong action in light of the upsurge of killings in the area.
He said in days to come the Police Service would be conducting further anti-crime exercises in various parts of the area to bring the crime situation under control.
Visiting yesterday's murder scene were officers of the Port of Spain Criminal Investigation Department, led by ASP Ajith Persad, together with Besson Street police, including Insp Sahadeo Singh, Cpls Sirju and Budree, and PCs Norman and Praimdass.
Detectives from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations are continuing enquiries into the latest killing.