Traumatised workers of Mom's Diner in San Fernando yesterday recounted the robbery on Tuesday that led to the murder of Sgt Hayden Manwaring.
Acting on a citizen tip-off, Manwaring and other officers were able to find the four robbery suspects, but he was shot when his gun was wrested from him by one of the men at around 4.25 p.m.
Two hours before, the suspects had walked into the fast food business at Cipero Street and locked the door behind them.
According to owner Edwin Beepath, the men jumped over the counter and took the jewelry and purses belonging to three female employees.
One man had a gun, and another a cutlass.
Beepath said the women were locked into a store room, and $1,500 from the cash register was taken before the men left.
One of the women was able to pry open the door with a knife, and went for help.
One victim said she was told by one of the robbers to stay quiet and not make any noise.
"I don't want to murder. I don't want to go back to jail," the robber reportedly said.
Within minutes, police were at the scene.
Police officers got a description of the unmasked suspects from a CCTV camera recording from a nearby building.
While at the scene, the police officers learnt from persons living at Embacadere Housing Development, about a kilometre away, of suspicious activity in the area.
Manwaring and other officers cornered the men in a Nissan AD wagon at Butler Street, near the University of the West Indies Open Campus. Residents said they heard at least four gunshots and glass shattering, but everyone stayed behind locked doors.
It was then that Manwaring and Constable Nicholas Phillip were shot, sparking a search on land, sea and air that led to the arrest of the suspects.
Police with tracker dogs returned to Embacadere yesterday in search of weapons.