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Shooting sprees leave 1 dead, 7 injured

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

ONE man is dead and seven others are currently warded at hospital following two separate shootings in the San Juan and Port of Spain areas on Monday night.

Among them is an 11-year-old boy who was shot in the back when gunmen opened fire on a group of people of which he was a member.

The incidents took place just minutes apart at Ramkissoon Trace, San Juan, and Plaisance Road, John John.

In the first incident, which left 19-year-old Devon "Cheat" Hart dead, three men dressed in camouflage opened fire on Hart and two of his friends—Brendon Harris, 31, and Jason DeFreitas, 39.

Investigators said it was around 8 p.m., that Hart, DeFreitas and Harris were sitting at the corner of Ramkissoon Trace and Duncan Hill playing cards when a black, heavily-tinted van pulled up nearby before the three gunmen came out of the vehicle and began shooting.

After shooting the trio several times about their bodies, the gunmen jumped back into the vehicle and sped off. All three victims lived at Ramkissoon Trace, police reported.

Officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF) responded to a wireless transmission following the incident and rushed the injured men to Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope, where Hart was pronounced dead. He was shot in the face, said police.

Investigators said they were told by DeFreitas and Harris that they saw the van approaching but paid no heed as they believed it was a police vehicle.

Officers said they did not know any of the victims to be involved in criminal activities, but believed that the incident may have occurred as a result of gang rivalry between other men from Duncan Hill and Ramkissoon Trace. Of the 17 murders for the year to date, police said seven of them occurred in the Besson Street district.

This was also where the second shooting incident took place and which left 11-year-old Jubriel Worrell, his uncle Ian Worrell, 46, Gershwin Thomas, 29, Elton Regis, 52, and Samuel Oliver, 29, warded at hospital up to press time last night.

Police said at around 8.20 p.m., the five were standing along Plaisance Street near a basketball court when a silver Mitsubishi Lancer drove by, with the occupants of the vehicle opening fire on the group.

Officers of the Besson Street Police Station, led by Insp Sahadeo Singh and including Cpls Sirju and Narine, together with members of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) visited the scene and took all five victims to Port of Spain General Hospital where they were treated and warded.

The boy, a pupil of St Phillip's Government Primary School, was subsequently transferred to the EWMSC where he remains in stable condition.

Investigators said they believe the shooting was a reprisal for the murder of 24-year-old Kevin Brown, who was gunned down in Beetham Estate on Saturday.

Speaking to TV6 News yesterday evening, the boy's mother, Sherry Ann Worrell, said this was the first time such an incident happed to one of her children, after living in the community for the past 30 years. She said, up to late yesterday, the bullet that struck her son was still lodged in his spine.

The woman also called for an end to violence in the crime-stricken community. She said she had been living there for more than 30 years but it was now becoming unbearable to do so when even children can't walk the street without being shot or even killed.

It was only on Sunday that ten-year-old Jomal Dillon was shot twice in the leg while walking along Nelson Street in Port of Spain. He is still warded at Port of Spain General Hospital.

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