Saturday, January 20, 2018

Three murders in 18 hours


Killed: Ryan McKenzie

Mark Fraser


Jeweller Darmani Rose

Mark Fraser

Within the space of 18 hours, the deaths of a 53-year-old singer, a 33-year-old jeweller, and a 31-year-old recovering mental patient, pushed the murder toll in this country to 95.

The latest incident took place about 2.30 p.m. yesterday.

Police sources have revealed that Darmani Rose, a jeweller who resided at St Thomas Street, Tunapuna, was at his home in the company of two other persons, when shortly before 3 p.m., two men came by the home asking to view some gold chains. Rose reportedly allowed them in and upon entering, the men pulled out cutlasses and announced a hold- up.

They proceeded to tie up the occupants in the home, ransacked the building and made off with a quantity of cash and jewelry. However, before they left, one of the men walked up to Rose and slit his throat.

The two men then escaped. When the Express visited yesterday, St Thomas Street was cordoned off, as crime scene investigators were searching for evidence which would assist them in their inquiries.

Rose’s godmother, Leisel Thorne, said that the 33-year-old man was a “kind and loving” soul, and she could not understand why anyone would want him dead. “He was a down to earth person. A very loving man. Very loved in the community. I find this whole incident very strange, because he doesn’t open the gate for anybody. It would have been for someone he knew. Because a few years ago, while he was at his store on the main road, they shot at him. About two years ago, they even killed his brother. So he is a very cautious man. This is just beyond me.”

Rose’s body is expected to be brought to the Forensic Science Centre in St James today, where an autopsy will be performed.

In the second incident, police reported that on Tuesday, 31-year-old Ryan McKenzie was standing with a group of friends along Waterwheel Road, Diego Martin, when about 9.30 p.m., an unmarked vehicle pulled alongside them and without warning one of the occupants of the vehicle opened fire on the group, hitting McKenzie once in the chest. The 31-year-old man fell to the ground, as his friends scampered to safety.

McKenzie’s attacker exited the vehicle, walked up to the injured man, and proceeded to shoot him several times about the body. The attacker then returned to the waiting car and fled the scene.

The police and emergency health services were notified and a party of officers from the Western Division Police Station responded. McKenzie was rushed to the St James Medical Complex, where he was treated before being transferred to the Port of Spain General Hospital. He succumbed to his injuries shortly after 10 p.m. yesterday.

At the Forensic Science Centre yesterday, McKenzie’s mother, Debra Bowen, said she was still trying to come to terms with her son’s death. She explained that her son had been a mental patient at the St Ann’s Hospital, recently however, he was still a kind-hearted person.

“It still had people who would pick on him because of what he went through, he would argue with them and get into little scraps but it was nothing serious”, Bowen said.

McKenzie’s sister Cooreen, emphasised that her brother was not in any gang-related activities.

“He was a girls’ man and a hard worker before he had his incident, and was not in any gangs or anything. Even after he had his episodes he was just home relaxing, trying to get himself back together. This is what makes it especially hard for us. If he was in something we would have understood, it would hurt, but a part of us would understand. But the pain is especially worse when you aren’t in anything illegal and this happens. It’s an extra shock.”

She said, “Look at my mother, she is in pain, she is in tears. No parent should have to bury their child. If anything positive has to come out of this incident, if I can give any advice to the people of this country. Please put down the guns. This taking-life thing, it makes no sense, because at the end of the day, you gain nothing, and only take away from people and leave them in mourning.”

In the third incident, 53-year-old Ion Charles, who was stabbed about his body several times on Monday morning following a robbery, succumbed to his injuries yesterday at the Port of Spain General Hospital.

Police reported that Charles, of Upper Covigne Road, Diego Martin, had boarded a private-hired (PH) car at about 12.30 a.m. on Monday after he had won $6,000 at a popular casino in downtown Port of Spain. The 53-year-old man had told police that he asked the driver to take him home, following which he fell asleep in the car.

He awoke when he realised a man was choking him, demanding that Charles hand over his winnings. The Diego Martin man resisted his attackers, following which he was stabbed about his body.

The men then took the quantity of cash and threw the injured man out of their vehicle in the vicinity of Fuller Street, Diego Martin, before making their escape.