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Three warded after Army, Coast Guard brawl in Tobago
Two members of the Defence Force and a civilian were warded in serious condition at hospital in Tobago up to last night after a fight reportedly broke out between a group of soldiers and Coast Guard officers. One Coast Guard officer was shot, while a soldier received severe head injuries. Police said the incident took place outside a nightclub in Scarborough around 3.25 am yesterday. Investigators said the servicemen were off duty, socialising at the establishment when an argument broke out.
They said during the row Lance Corporal Virgil Gerveis was badly beaten in the head and when Coast Guard officer Philroy Douglas intervened in an attempt to pacify the situation he was shot in the chest. Police said passerby Nicholas George, 24, of Mary’s Hall, who was on his own business, was also attacked and beaten for no reason. He, too, sustained multiple head injuries, police said. The three men were rushed to the Scarborough General Hospital.
Douglas underwent emergency surgery and his condition is listed as serious. The T&T Guardian understands that the soldiers, based in Tobago, and the Coast Guard officers from Trinidad were unaware that each was in the military. Sources said the argument began inside the nightclub and escalated into a brawl outside the establishment.
A spokesman said police were investigating a report that some civilians got involved in the argument and beat one of the soldiers. It was only when the situation got heated the soldiers and Coast Guard officers realised they were all Defence Force officers. Assistant Supt George of the Scarborough Police Station is continuing investigations.
Defence Force speaks
T&T Coast Guard’s Lt Cmdr Kirk Jean-Baptiste confirmed last night an incident took place between the soldiers and Coast Guard officers. He said an investigation has been launched and the Defence Force is co-operating with the police. He said the Defence Force also understood that footage taken from CCTV cameras at the scene is in the hands of the police who are reviewing the tape.
“It is unclear at this time for us to determine who did what. The police are conducting an investigation and we (Defence Force) are awaiting the results. Jean-Baptiste also confirmed that Douglas was shot in the chest with a .22 calibre gun.
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