Four murders and one police killing yesterday marked the start of a bloody weekend.
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Another child shot in gang warfare
Continuing gang warfare in east Port-of-Spain left a three-year-old boy nursing a gunshot injury. The incident occurred one day after an eight-year-old boy was grazed by a gunman’s bullet in Laventille. Police said as a result of the shooting incidents, there would be increased presence of officers in the area. According to police reports, three-year-old Gabriel Cuffie, while at his home at Morvant Old Road, Success Village, Laventille, on Sunday night, was shot in the left shoulder, with the bullet exiting his arm, Police said around 11 pm, four gunmen stormed into the yard and opened fire on those gathered.
The shooters shot Cuffie and Nisha Vincent, 24, who was holding her four year-old son Josiah in her arms. On Saturday, eight-year-old Brent Bonaparte was also shot in the shoulder at Block, 22, Laventille. Officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force reported that there were responding to reports of a shooting in Block Eight, Laventille, when on reaching Foster Road they were fired on.
They returned fire but the three gunmen escaped. The officers then went to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where they found Michael Singh, 26, who had been shot in his right shoulder and abdomen; Latisha Lewis, 22, who was shot in her lower back; and Bonaparte. All three were believed to have been shot by the three escaped gunmen.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Cuffie’s mother, Luanne Cuffie, 38, said she was bathing when the shooting started. After hearing the gunshots she raced outside to see the gunmen shooting in her children’s direction. “I saw my son Jeremiah holding his brother’s hand and they were asking ‘where mummy?’ I see fire coming out of the gun. I just grab my towel and grab my children and run.” “When they came they told everybody lie down on the ground and they start to shoot. Them (gunmen) don’t study anyone. They just do what they want. I not feeling safe again. I can’t go back there and sleep. I am worried for my children,” Cuffie said, adding the police told her over 30 spent shells were recovered at the scene. She said only after she ran into the roadway she realised her son had been hit. Cuffie said she would be taking it one day at a time and that her son was “good” at the Eric Williams Medical Complex, Mt Hope, where he is warded.
A few houses away, Vincent’s mother, Martha Vincent, said she heard gunshots and yelled out her daughter’s name. She was later informed her daughter had been injured. Vincent said her daughter was running home when she fell clutching her son, Josiah Vincent, four. She described the situation as “frightening and sad” and thanked God her daughter and the child “made it.” She said it was the first time she had ever experienced something like that. She said her grandchild told her “he was with mummy when she get shoot and both of them fall down.” Head of the Port-of-Spain Division Snr Supt Cyril Harry in a telephone interview said his men were continuing their investigations with the hope of identifying and prosecuting the men. He added that the lawmen were asking the public to assist them. “We will have increased patrols in those areas, based on discussions we had this morning, those areas in Laventille, we are putting special focus on them,” he said.