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Bloody Boxing Day

Friday, December 27, 2013
Murder toll hits 400 mark

Police officers from both the Port-of-Spain and South Western Divisions were kept busy on the Boxing Day holiday yesterday after three shooting incidents which left three people dead and a man and a woman hospitalised. The bloody day began with the shooting of Andrea Persad at the hands of Lutchmansingh Bobby Roopchand, a 29-year old police officer who turned the gun on himself.



Roopchand, a constable assigned to the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit based in Port of-Spain, went to the home of Persad’s relative at Spring Trace, Siparia, in search of another relative. Police said Persad, of Ramsubag Trace, Barrackpore, was shot after she reportedly refused to speak with Roopchand who called out to her at the relative’s home.


Roopchand shot Persad once in the left arm. The bullet grazed her left breast. After shooting her, he returned to his vehicle and shot himself once in the head with his service weapon. He lived at Pancham Trace, Penal. Persad is now warded in stable condition at the San Fernando General Hospital. The two other shootings have pushed the murder toll to 400, one more than Police Commissioner Stephen Williams projected.


Speaking at a breakfast meeting at the Faculty of Social Sciences Lounge, UWI, St Augustine, organised by the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development on December 10, Williams had projected there could be 399 murders and 12,835 serious crimes by the end of the year. 



The first murdered man was identified as 35-year-old Neil Williams alias “Poobie.” Williams was in company of his cousin Sheldon John, 32, along with other people at Upper Trou Macaque, near the community centre around 1 pm when two gunmen approached the group and opened fire. Williams was shot several times about the body and died on the scene. John, who was shot once in the right foot, was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he remained warded in a stable condition last night. 


Police said they had no motive for the shooting as the men, who lived in the area, were not known to be involved in any illicit activity. About an hour later, 44-year-old Curtis Lewis, a visually-impaired man, was murdered metres from his home on Boxhill Trace, Laventille. 


Lewis, police said, was walking through the track with his father when his father was stopped. Lewis continued walking and while heading home was shot dead. Police said residents heard loud explosions coming from a nearby track leading to his home and when they checked they found him dead. A member of the community, identified only as “Kerron,” called on residents to “take it down” as the Christmas period was a spiritual one that should be celebrated in reverence and not marred by violence. 


Meanwhile, in an interview yesterday afternoon, Harrylal Ramsundar, a family friend staying at the home of Andrea Persad, recalled said he was in the garage when a car pull up in front the house. He said apparently Roopchand called Persad on her father’s cell phone and a little while later Persad walked passed him and went to the car. “She pass in front of me and walk up the hill by the car.


I hear like he (Roopchand) tell she to sit down and she say he start to curse she using the four letter word and this man start shooting. I tell myself like is some kind of firecracker this man using to frighten she. She started screaming and running and I see him learning over the driver seat and shooting.” Ramsundar said he was grazed by a stray bullet on his index finger. Even when Persad’s step mother grabbed her and carried her inside Roopchand was still shooting, he said.


He said they all remained inside until the police came. “We were frighten. When we come out we see him slump in the car with a bullet hole in he head.” 



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