(Trinidad Guardian) This year’s murder toll has now surpassed last year’s figure and is expected to continue its trend after another bloody weekend.
As of yesterday, the murder toll stood at 425 in comparison to 420 people for all of 2015. The toll included the shooting death of Kerol Austin, 38, at a bar along the Western Main Road, Point Cumana, on Saturday night. Police said he and a patron got into an argument and he was shot dead.
Outside of Austin, five other men, Jelani Gadhar, Daniel Pacheco, Troy James and an unidentified man in Santa Cruz, were killed this weekend as killers continued their brazen attacks across the country.
The Central Division is one of the two top divisions for gun violence and murder. The other is the Northern Division.
With 339 days gone in the year at yesterday’s date, it means there has been at least one murder a day with an overlap of 90. The projected murder figure remains at an average of 460. Most of the victims are between the ages of 26-35, with over half the overall victims falling within this age bracket.
A whopping 75 per cent of the killings were perpetrated with the use of a gun according to the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT). The majority of murder victims are males and of the African descent, PLOTT summarised from data collected by media reports and police records.
Homicide officials have also been struggling to put a dent in the detection rate with head of the Homicide Bureau Snr Supt Sacenarine Mahabir, in a previous interview with the T&T Guardian, saying the issue was that people were afraid to come to the police for fear of retaliation. He added that while forensic evidence was important to solving murders, eyewitness accounts were still the best tool and the hardest to get. Even with increased manpower and training, Mahabir said his unit is still fighting an uphill battle with people not willing to come forward.
The killers however, are not afraid, the weapon of choice is the gun and their time of striking is any time, including in broad daylight. However, based on the statistics, most of the killings take place between 6 pm and 10 pm, followed closely by the time period 10 pm to 2 am.
Businessman shot 3 times
A Mayaro businessman, who attempted to stop two bandits from escaping with the money they took from the cashier at his business, was shot and killed on Saturday night.
Police said father of two Daniel Pacheco, 36, of Radix Village, Mayaro, died on his way to the Mayaro District Health Facility after being shot three times by one of the two bandits.
Police reported that around 9 pm on Saturday, Pacheco was in the office at his mini-mart on Radix Road, Mayaro, when he observed two men with their faces covered entering the business on his CCTV camera. The men approached the cashier (his wife) and ordered her at gunpoint to hand over the cash. Pacheco continued to monitor the bandits on his camera. The two bandits took the cash and placed it into a bag.
In the interim, Pacheco went outside through another exit and waited for the bandits to come outside.
Police said he reportedly confronted the bandits outside and attempted to grab the one with the cash. However, he was shot three times by the man’s accomplice. Pacheco was shot on his head, left shoulder and waist and fell to the ground, shouting for assistance. The bandits escaped in a waiting vehicle.
Pacheco was rushed to the Mayaro Health Facility by villagers but succumbed to his injuries.
A party of police officers led by Supt Phillip, CID officers from Mayaro Police Station and Homicide Officers led by Cpl Ramsahai of Region II visited the scene.
Pacheco’s body will be taken to the Forensic Science Centre today for a post mortem.
Cpl Ramsahai of Homicide Region II is continuing enquiries.
This was the second killing in the region during a robbery over the weekend.
On Saturday, 27-year-old Valencia resident Jelani Gadhar was also shot and killed by bandits at his home.
Police said, Gadhar, died on the spot after he was sprayed with bullets by five armed gun men who entered his home and ordered Gadhar and his wife to pass their jewellery.
Gadhar and his wife refused, telling the bandits they had no jewellery. The gunmen then took Gadhar to his room, insisting he pass the jewellery and when he refused they shot him. Gadhar was reported to have been shot five times, in the head chest, abdomen, waist and leg, and died instantly. His wife escaped unhurt.
A District Medical Officer viewed his body and ordered its removal to the Forensic Sciences Center for an autopsy.
Visiting the scene were Supt Phillip, WPCs Joseph, Portel, Officers of Homicide Region II and CSI officers from the Eastern Division.