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New year bloodshed

Friday, January 3, 2014
Grief as 7 killed in 48 hours
Police remove the body of an unidentified man from a river which crosses the Uriah Butler Highway, near the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, yesterday. The man was shot in the head and his body was weighted down with bricks. Police were alerted to the body by a family who had gone there to hunt crabs. Photo courtesy CNC3

With just two days gone in the year, officers of the Homicide Bureau are now probing seven murders that occurred between 2.25 am on New Year’s Day and yesterday afternoon, as the bloodshed that ended 2013 continued into the new year. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, head of the bureau, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Dick, said his officers were now taking a holistic approach to dealing with the murder rate this year. 



Police figures show that for 2013, there were 442 homicides overall and 406 murders. According to police, a homicide is the killing of a human by another human. Murders are different in that there is the added notion of a preconceived intent to kill someone. 



Of the 442 homicides for last year, nine were sent for inquest to determine possible culpability, two have been deemed as manslaughter (the unintentional killing of someone) and 25 were police killings. Of the 406 murders, 52 have been detected, with a total of 65 people being arrested and charged with those murders. There were two incidents of killers who committed suicide after their acts.



Officials at the Homicide Bureau said yesterday that their detection rate for last year was 12.8 per cent, but their aim was 20 per cent. Dick said for 2014, his men would be engaging the services of the other arms of the Police Service for assistance. He added that in dealing with the issue of homicides, the police would be taking a two-pronged approach—the response of police and the preventative measures by the police.


He said his aim is to share the information his men accumulate in investigating homicides with the entire organisation, in an attempt to prevent further occurrences of homicides. He said his men would be in communication with other units because the Homicide Bureau “cannot to do it alone.” Dick added that staffing and training for his unit were other issues that were being actively pursued, adding his men would be taking a “systematic approach” to addressing the murder toll this year after such a frenetic start.


Those killed over the first two days of the year were:
1. Pastor Casimir Khan—Shot dead outside his Lot 2, Mausica Road, Arima, home on New Year’s Day around 2.25 am during an attempted robbery. Khan’s son Ezra, the intended victim, is still hospitalised at the San Fernando General Hospital, having been shot in the face and neck. 
2. Francis “Powder” Bernard—Shot dead outside his home at Agua Santa Road, Wallerfield, around 10 pm. His sister Curlene Daniel said yesterday that Bernard, 32, was disabled and had a four-year-old daughter.
3. Curtis Lovelace—Stabbed to death around 8 pm at his Bacolet Point, Tobago, home. Lovelace, 55, was at home with his girlfriend Marilyn Thomas when her daughter’s relative came to visit. An argument started outside and Thomas was stabbed by a man. Thomas ran to a neighbour’s house for help. Lovelace was later stabbed about the body by the man and died at the scene. The suspect was arrested and is in police custody.
4-5. Omardath Deokienanan and wife Sharon Bahadur—They were found chopped to death at their Borde Narve Village, Princes Town, home. The couple’s killers stole their Nissan B-14 before fleeing the scene. 
6. Leroy Haynes—Haynes, a 65-year-old mentally-ill man, died after being beaten and set ablaze by a 25-year-old man in Cocorite. Haynes, of Waterhole, Cocorite, died while undergoing treatment at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. The suspect is in police custody.
7 Unidentified man—Police fished the body of an unidentified man out of a river which crosses the Uriah Butler Highway near the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. The body was pulled out on the northbound lane of the highway. It bore a gunshot wound and was weighed down with bricks. A group of crab catchers alerted police to the body around 3.45 pm yesterday. The man, of East Indian descent, was wearing a blue three-quarters pants and a blue jersey. 


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