TWO more men were murdered in the John John, East Port of Spain area on Sunday night, bringing to four the number of people killed in that area over the weekend, with a total of nine individuals being murdered throughout the country in the space of 48 hours.
The latest murder victims have been identified by police as 55-year-old Errol "Shine" John of Beverly Hills, and Robert Farrell, 46, a welder of Clifton Hill.
Their killings have now pushed the murder toll for the year to 294 according to an Express tally.
Investigators said they did not know either men to be involved in any criminal activities, but believed they were targeted because they had relatives who were gang members.
With the two latest killings, police said there was now an increase in patrols in John John as there could "quite possibly" be more reprisal killings in the area in the coming days.
Police said at around 8.25 p.m. on Sunday, John, along with his wife, had just got out a taxi and were walking towards their Building 10, Beverly Hills apartment when a lone gunman walked up to them and shot John several times about the body before calmly walking off.
Officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), who were the first to arrive on the scene, rushed the injured man to Port of Spain General Hospital, where he died while undergoing surgery.
Just 20 minutes after he was shot, and while officers were processing the crime scene, another volley of shots was heard in the distance.
Officers went to Clifton Hill where Farrell's wife pointed out her husband's dead body, which was lying in the yard of his home.
Investigators said Farrell was at home with his wife when he informed her he was going to use the outside washroom.
Upon leaving the house the woman heard several loud explosions before venturing outside to find her husband's bullet-riddled body.
On Saturday morning, 51-year-old mother of eight Alma Noray was shot while sleeping on a mattress in the living room of her Beverly Hills apartment.
She died while undergoing surgery at Port of Spain General Hospital.
And Joel "Garlic Sauce" Bodkin, 29, also of Beverly Hills, was at a shop at Straker Village, Laventille, later that morning when he was approached by a group of men who opened fire on him.
He was shot multiple times about the body and died at the scene.
Later that day, Express reporter Jensen LaVende, photographer Anisto Alves, TV6 journalist Jabari Fraser and cameraman Kerry Partick had to run for cover after they were shot at while interviewing Noray's relatives.
In a release yesterday, the Government condemned the attack on members of the media in the function of their duties, saying: "Any assault on the media is an assault on every citizen of this country and we must all play a part in ensuring such acts are never repeated."
The release went on to state that the incident could not be viewed as simply an attack on journalists, "but a dastardly assault on one of our freedoms as enshrined in this country's constitution."
The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) also issued a release expressing its "profound sadness" at the multiple murders over the weekend.
"We worry that our society could be living with the misguided view that the rest of us are safe as long as the murders are confined to specific areas and will eventually solve the crime problem since the perpetrators will eventually kill each other into extinction," said DOMA.
"We emphatically disagree with these positions and we wish to once again point out that this type of human blood-letting is the most compelling evidence of a society in collapse; not only from its failure to understand the sacred need to protect all human life but from its obvious impotence in solving its problems."
Yesterday, the families of the four John John victims and relatives of the five other people to be murdered over the weekend gathered at the Forensic Science Centre, Federation Park, St James, for autopsies to be performed on their loved ones.
However, the autopsies were all postponed until this morning as forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov did not show up at the Centre.
The Express was told that Alexandrov was "a bit under the weather" and that he would be working "extra duties" today in order to have all of the autopsies completed by this evening.