(Trinidad Guardian) Reputed gang leader and criminal mastermind Selwyn “Robocop” Alexis was assassinated at his Enterprise, Chaguanas business yesterday.
Alexis, customer Kevin Escayg, of San Juan and Escayg’s four-year-old son, Kirchard Scott, were shot several times as a group of gunmen ambushed them at Alexis’ carwash at Freedom Street around 4.30 pm.
Central Division Police were bracing for reprisal killings last night, as one of the gunmen shot dead by Alexis as he returned fire before being killed himself, was identified as a member of a rival gang in the community.
According to reports, Alexis, Scott and Escayg were standing in the yard of the carwash when a man came onto the compound talking to Alexis. The man was wearing a black wig and at some stage Alexis realised he knew him and said so. At this stage, however, two cars stopped near them.
The occupants of the cars, who were reportedly carrying assault rifles and handguns, got out and began shooting in their direction. The man talking to Alexis also drew a gun and both men got into as tussle.
Alexis, Scott and Escayg were shot several times before Alexis managed to draw a gun and shoot his initial attacker before also getting off some shots at his attackers. The other gunmen eventually shot the trio several more times before they returned to their vehicles and drove away, leaving their wounded accomplice.
The T&T Guardian was told Alexis had his four-year-old granddaughter with him, but managed to put her in a vehicle when he realised they were being ambushed. Up to last night the child kept asking her mother for “papa” and kept repeating that she was scared after seeing “her papa beat the man.” Escayg was shot as he shielded his own son from the bullets, the T&T Guardian was told.
Alexis, Escayg and the gunman, who was later identified as Thomas “Hamza” Sharpe, of Walter Lane, Bhagallo Trace, Enterprise, died on the scene and were pronounced dead by a District Medical Officer (DMO).
Scott, who was said to be critically injured, was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences, Mt Hope, where he underwent emergency surgery, last night. The T&T Guardian could not confirm if police recovered any firearms from the scene when they arrived.
The T&T Guardian was told that Alexis had had a confrontation with members of a rival gang three months ago and was beaten. Alexis reportedly retaliated and threats had been passing between the parties since then, but before then had been attempting to make peace with the warring parties.
Yesterday’s shooting was the second attempt on Alexis’ life at the location, which also houses Alexis’ supermarket at the front. In April 2009, Alexis and his three-year-old daughter, Simia, were shot at as they drove into the carwash. Alexis escaped unscathed while the toddler was wounded.
Minutes after the shooting, scores of heavily armed police and Defence Force soldiers responded to the scene and began combing the community for the suspects and interviewing residents as their colleagues processed the crime scene. They continued to patrol the community up to late yesterday, in an attempt to dissuade any reprisal attacks.
While dozens of residents lined the perimeter of caution tape which cordoned off the scene, most declined to comment on Alexis’ character as they only spoke on their knowledge of the incident hours earlier. There also appeared to be hostility between the dead men’s relatives and police as they were being interviewed at the scene.
“I not telling you anything. Police too corrupt. He come to you before and you did nothing,” an unidentified female relative of one of the deceased told a police officer after he asked her if she could provide a photograph of her relative.
Police said the men who carried out the ambush had hours before held up a man and robbed him of his Almera car near the Super Quality supermarket in Endeavour, Chaguanas. They used the stolen vehicle to carry out the attack. Police found the stolen car abandoned at Montrose Street around 7.45 pm.
Alexis, 52, became infamous nationally for his alleged criminal exploits over the past decade. Although he had been charged for extortion and several kidnappings in the past, he had never been convicted.
Most recently, Alexis, his 25-year-old son Kerron and another man were charged with participating in a riot at Crown Trace in Enterprise in April, which was said to be part of an ongoing war between rival gangs which had claimed several lives over the past year.
Post mortems on the victims’ bodies will be performed at the Forensic Science Centre in St James this morning. Security measures at the centre are expected to be increased as Alexis’ family and relatives of one of his attackers could be there simultaneously.
Detectives of the Region Three Homicide Bureau are continuing investigations.