Less than two hours after he was shot in the head following an argument over a pie, 56-year-old Ralph “Dada” Peters died on Tuesday while undergoing emergency treatment at the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Peters’ death took place less than 60 feet away from the Duncan Street Police Post in Port of Spain.
And while his relatives are still trying to come to terms with the death of the father of five, who has been a vendor in the capital city for over 25 years, they said they were “most troubled” by the fact they had been told by police officers at the police post the CCTV camera which was facing Peters at the time of the incident reportedly stopped working that same day.
“We find that whole news just suspicious. You mean to tell me right before the shooting take place, all of a sudden the camera not working? So they didn’t capture who did it? Nothing? That just troubling to me. That’s not right,” a relative said.
Family members also noted that Peters’ nine-year-old niece was standing near him when the incident occurred, and she had to duck for her life while her uncle was being shot.
“These men have no regard for life anymore. That little girl was standing right there and that man buss shots dry so? She had to duck and throw herself on the ground because she didn’t know where the shots were coming from at the time. All she knew was that she had to dive for safety. It’s only after she realise that Dada get shoot,” a relative said.
Relatives said Peters was well-loved in the community and as far as they knew, no one had anything bad to say about him.
“He was real normal with everyone he met. He was always friendly. Look he on that corner for about ten years or more now, and they never used to trouble him.
“He started selling coconuts, then nuts and eventually move on to fruits, pies and pastries. He was on Nelson Street first, and then he decided to move to Duncan. To know he survive so long out here, trying to do the right thing in life, and for it to end like this? That is just a hurtful thing,” a relative said.
According to police reports, about 1.15 p.m. on Tuesday, Peters, who lives at Picton Road, Laventille, was selling fruits and pies at the corner of Duncan and Queen streets when he got into an argument with one of his customers, following which the man walked away. However, the customer returned a short while later, and fired three shots at Peters before fleeing on foot.
Police said an arrest is imminent.
The murder toll now stands at 206, according to an Express count. The murder toll as at June 25, 2013 was 178.