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Murder toll now 177
Even as police and army personnel held increased joint patrols in the nation’s crime hot spots, two men were killed and two others injured within hours of each other, in shootings in east Port-of-Spain and Laventille on Saturday. Akino Bascombe, 27, of Laventille, and Ricardo Davis, 27, of St Thomas Street, Laventille, were killed, while taxi driver Sheldon Alves, of Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna, and Quincy Jones, 30, of Paradise Heights, Morvant, were injured in the shootings.
Up to late yesterday, the nation’s murder toll for the year was 177. In the first incident, Bascombe was shot dead at around 1.30 pm at Upper Wharton Street in Laventille. Police believe Bascombe arrived in the area with a friend who drew a firearm and shot at residents. Investigators believe Bascombe was accidentally shot in the head by his friend, who fled the scene.
About half an hour later, Jones was walking along Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, when residents in a nearby apartment building heard several loud explosions. They found Jones lying on the roadway with gunshot wounds to the upper body. He was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, where he was warded in the intensive-care unit in critical condition up to late yesterday.
Meanwhile, at around 8.30 pm, residents of St Thomas Street, Laventille, reported to police about hearing a volley of gunshots. Officer from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) went to the scene and found Davis with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
About an hour after Davis’ shooting, Alves was plying his vehicle for hire from Curepe to Port-of-Spain along the Eastern Main Road. Near the Port-of-Spain flyover, his passenger announced a hold-up. A struggle reportedly ensued, during which Alves was shot once in the back. Alves told police after he was shot, his attacker fled on foot through a nearby road, which leads to a hill in Laventille.
He was treated for his injury at hospital, where he remained warded in a stable condition up to yesterday evening. ASP Ajith Persad, Cpls Donavon Thompson, Surju and Springer of the Port-of-Spain CID are investigating all four shootings. In response to Saturday’s spate of shootings, National Security Minister John Sandy dismissed criticism of the government’s latest anti-crime initiatives.
“If we look at when we came into office to now, crime has subsided, but not to the extent we want it to,” he said, after addressing a workshop on fatherhood, which was hosted by his ministry at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, yesterday. Sandy noted that joint patrols between law enforcement agencies is not a new initiative.
At a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair on Wednesday, Sandy announced increased joint patrols as part of the government’s anti-crime measures. He said the patrols were in response to an increase in murders across T&T.
“Joint patrols never stopped. Because of the current crime situation these patrols need to intensify...We need to apply as much law enforcement capability as possible.” Yesterday, Sandy also defended the highly controversial 21st-century policing programme, which was introduced under Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs.
“Once it is applied in the manner it is prescribed, it is going to work to some extent. “Crime is something we are trying to diminish. It would be irresponsible and unrealistic to say we are going to eliminate crime.”
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