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Murder toll climbs to 88 with Diego victim
Less than 24 hours after police in the Port-of-Spain Division applauded the joint initiative in Laventille which has so far quelled gang violence and reduced murders and serious crimes, a Diego Martin bar owner was gunned down as he waited at a traffic light. Hayden Thomas, 39, of Mercer Road, Diego Martin, sustained multiple gunshot wounds on Thursday night, after two men opened fire on him as he stopped at a red light at the Grand Bazaar intersection.
Thomas escaped an attempt on his life last January when gunmen ambushed his car in St Ann’s. St Joseph police said Thomas was heading west in his white Navarra around 8.30 pm on Thursday, when he stopped at the intersection of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and the Uriah Butler Highway. As Thomas’ van, which was first in the lane, waited for the light to change, a car with three occupants pulled alongside.
The front and rear passengers began firing at Thomas, who was alone in his van. As other drivers tried to escape the gunmen, chaos erupted as some drivers broke the red light forcing others to stop suddenly. The gunmen’s car continued west after the shooting. Northern Division Task Force police arrived to find Thomas slumped over the steering wheel. He had been shot in the abdomen and chest.
Thomas was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, where he underwent emergency surgery but died around 3.15 am yesterday. Thomas’s death pushed the murder toll to 88 for the year so far. Cpl Weekes of the St Joseph Police Station is continuing investigations.
Meanwhile, senior police officers have issued a warning to criminal elements who “migrated” out of the Laventille area and were now committing murders and other serious crimes in the Northern Division.
One officer said, “We are advising residents to contact us immediately if they see strange people hanging around and groups of people suddenly moving into apartments and homes that were previously vacant. Some of the criminals have left Laventille and are committing crimes in other areas, but we will not tolerate that in the Northern Division.”
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