[Trinidad Guardian] – The man who pumped five bullets, at close range, into the head and body of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal has been identified as one of three men killed in a police shootout at Freeport on Wednesday.
Senior police officers who are directly involved in Seetahal’s murder probe confirmed yesterday that David “Junior” Baker, 28, was one of the key suspects involved in the well-planned assassination.
The officers spoke on the strict condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to disclose the sensitive information relating to the case. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Glenn Hackett offered no comment when questioned about Baker’s involvement in Seetahal’s murder yesterday. But police said Baker’s death has not seriously impacted on their investigations into the murder.
Commenting on the development, Seetahal’s sister, Susan Francois, the director of the Financial Intelligence Unit, said: “If he (Baker) was one of the person’s involved then I would hope the police would move speedily to get the others involved and bring them to justice. “Do they want a repeat of the Selwyn Richardson result?” she asked. Richardson, 59, a former attorney general and minister of national security, was shot dead by two hitmen in his Cascade driveway on June 20, 1995.
Two men identified as his assassins, Jamaat al Muslimeen members Abdul Quadir and Curtis Felix, were both themselves murdered days after Richardson’s killing. No one has ever been brought to justice for Richardson’s killing. Seetahal, 58, who worked closely with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as the lead prosecutor for several high-profile cases, was ambushed shorly after midnight on May 4 along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook, as she made her way to her One Woodbrook Place apartment.
She also worked closely with the United States Embassy giving advice on key proposals to reform the criminal justice system. Seetahal’s murder sent shockwaves across the criminal justice system, crippling key office-holders with fear and prompting acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to assemble one of the most diverse and experienced investigative teams to solve it. Williams is on record as saying Seetahal’s murder is the number one priority of the Police Service.
The team includes personnel from the Homicide Bureau, Criminal Gang Intelligence Unit, Cyber Crime Unit, Special Branch and the Strategic Services Agency. The investigators are being assisted by data analysts and other technical experts, including agents from the United States’s Federal Bureau of Investigations and other experts from the United Kingdom.
Within hours of Seetahal’s murder CrimeStoppers offered a $1 million bounty for information leading to the successful arrest and prosecution of those responsible for her murder. That figure was increased to $3.5 million by the Government. That reward remains unclaimed.
Details of Hit
Investigations have so far revealed that Seetahal was followed after she left the Ma Pau casino on Tragarete Road, Woodbrook, and was ambushed near the Woodbrook Youth Facility and killed.
Police said a panel van, which had been parked near the Woodbrook Youth Facility, blocked her path, and two men, one armed with an assault rifle and another with a handgun, walked up to her Volkswagen Touareg.
The man with the machine gun fired several shots in the air, leaving behind close to 15 spent 5.56 ammunition shells, while the other, now identified as Baker, stood near the driver’s door and fired repeatedly at his target.
Forensic analysis of the scene revealed that the shots were fired so close that gunpowder residue was found on Seetahal’s face and clothing.