A police officer living near St Mary's Village, Moruga, has fled the area fearing a reprisal over Friday's killing of three residents by police.
The police were looking for a drug-dealing double-murder suspect who has eluded capture for months.
The fugitive is said to be hiding out in the village which was the scene yesterday of a protest by residents demanding that the policemen involved in the killings be arrested, charged and prosecuted for murder.
Residents lit candles and bonfires to block roads during a demonstration that began before daybreak and which they plan to continue indefinitely.
Multiple witnesses to the shooting of Abigail Johnson, 20, Allana Duncan, 28, and Kerron Eccles, 26, claim that they were executed. None of these witnesses are known to have given statements to the Assistant Superintendent of Police assigned to the case.
Southern Division Senior Superintendent, Deodath Dulalchan, said yesterday he was offended by talk that the police officers had killed three innocent people.
He said, "I know there was a shootout and three people succumbed to injuries."
He said the investigation was ongoing and would take time.
The police version of the killings is that at around 8.50 p.m. last Friday, officers from the Southern Division Homicide were told that a suspect wanted in connection with last month's Circular Road, San Fernando double murder was seen in a white B-15 Sentra at St Mary's Village. The officers reported that they intercepted the vehicle at the intersection of Poui Road and Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore, near Singh's Auto Clinic. The officers claim they drove into the path of the vehicle but were fired on. They claim that the right front and rear doors, right panel and wind screen of the police vehicle were damaged.
The police reported to their seniors that, in defence, they fired on the vehicle and checked to find the three people suffering gunshot wounds. The three were taken to the Princes Town District Hospital and pronounced dead.
Police claim to have recovered a pistol.
National Security Minister John Sandy and Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs have promised a thorough investigation, and the families of the dead were visited by senior police officers on Monday. Protesters have however dismissed the police and politicians, saying they expected a cover up. The gun police claimed to have found in the car belonging to the boyfriend of Duncan, were planted, said Eccles's brother Christopher Eccles.
Eccles's sister Nicole said the policemen who came to the house "telling us it could take two years to investigate this. But it is clear. I went to the hospital. He had a wound on his elbow and one direct centre of his chest, point blank".
The family were told that Duncan, Johnson, a DVD shop owner, and Eccles, a construction worker, left a bar and were headed to a fast food outlet when the police began firing.
Duncan was shot in the car, but according to witnesses both Johnson and Eccles came out of the car unhurt and begged for their lives.
Nicole Eccles said, "people tell us Kerron was pleading ask why they doing this, his hands in the air. They just throw him in the jeep. Next thing we hear he in the hospital dead."
Johnson was said to have been shot under the chin, the bullet exiting through the top of the head.
Duncan was also shot multiple times.
Eccles's mother, Geraldine Eccles, 61, who lives in the United States, told the Express last night that her son begged for mercy but "they still kill them in cold blood. I might die before I get justice but others will get justice for Kerron. He was a hard working child. He did not deserve this".
The funeral for the three will be held tomorrow and Friday.
–with reporting by Trevor Watson