Escalating gang violence in Laventille continued on Sunday night with two men being murdered as relatives watched helplessly. According to police reports, around 8.25 pm, Errol John, 56, of Building 10, Beverly Hills, Laventille, was walking towards his home with his wife when the couple were approached by a gun-toting stranger. The couple tried to run away but the man pointed the gun at John and shot him once in the back. His wife escaped unharmed. John was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Less than 20 minutes after John’s shooting, another Beverly Hills resident was shot dead at his common-law wife’s home in a neighbouring community. Robert Farrell, a welder of Building Eight, Marcano Quarry, Beverly Hills, Laventille was liming at his common-law wife’s Clifton Hill home when he told her he was going to the outhouse.
Farrell’s wife told investigators that after five minutes she heard several gunshots. She later found her wounded husband lying on the ground near the outhouse. Although she saw her husband’s attacker running away, owing to poor lighting she was unable to give the police a proper description.
Farrell was shot twice in the head and was pronounced dead on the scene by a district medical officer. Investigators believe Farrell’s murder was a reprisal for John’s shooting earlier that night. Neither man was known to be involved in criminal and gang activity in their communities, police said. Police said both men were believed to be innocent casualties in ongoing gang violence between the neighbouring communities of Beverly Hills and Clifton Hill. Homicide detectives were yesterday searching for clues in relation to all four murders on the weekend but believe that the victims were relatives of gang members and were targeted by rival gangs in their ongoing feud over territory. The violence resurfaced last weekend with the murder of 49-year-old Alma Noray who was shot dead while she slept at her Beverly Hills home on Saturday morning.
Hours after her death another resident, Joel Bobkin, 29, was fatally shot as he sat in front of a shop at Straker Village in Laventille. Besides Noray and Bobkin’s murders, police said there were numerous reports of random shootings in the communities throughout the weekend, including one incident in which a group of media personnel were apparently targeted by a gunman. They were unharmed. The murder toll for the year stood at 293 up to late yesterday. Several senior police officers within the Port-of-Spain Division met yesterday afternoon to discuss initiatives to curb the increase in violent crimes in Laventille and East Port-of-Spain. The T&T Guardian was told the officers agreed on several initiatives with traditional methods including police patrols, road blocks and home searches. The recent string of murders is said to be troubling investigators who fear there will be more reprisals in the next few weeks. Senior Supt Wayne Boyd, Supt Kenny McIntyre and ASP Ajith Persad of the Port-of-Spain CID are leading the probe into the murders.