The technician leaned conspiratorially across the counter at Marty Forscher’s repair store.
“Were you deployed to Afghanistan?”
Police killed two suspected murderers less than 30 minutes after the pair gunned down a Cunupia businessman.
The murder of 40-year-old Darryl Painter took the 2014 toll to 70, at the rate of a murder every 15 hours, according to a Bullet Points tally. The equivalent toll for this period in 2013 was 56, with a murder occurring every 20 hours.
Painter's killing is the eighth murder in central Trinidad for 2014.
The dead suspects brought to three the number of police killings in the area for the week.
Painter was shot dead while selling Valentine Day gifts next to the Evening Light Tabernacle along Southern Main Road, Cunupia.
His attackers, who were caught after a high speed chase, were shot multiple times by police during a shootout near the Preysal Interchange at Couva. They have not been identified.
According to reports, Painter was standing at the roadside when he was approached by two men. After a short conversation, one of the men whipped out a gun and shot Painter several times about the body.
Eyewitnesses said the gunman laughed loudly while shooting Painter and when his magazine was emptied, he pulled out another gun and continued shooting.
The shooter and a second man then escaped in a stolen white Mazda 3.
Central Division Supt Johnny Abraham and Insp of CID Terrence Williams coordinated the police response, with tactical units, Southern Division Highway Patrol and the National Security helicopter surveying the area. Crime scene investigators recovered more than 10 spent shells at the scene.
Officers spotted the car travelling south along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway. On nearing the Preysal Interchange, the gunmen ditched the car and attempted to escape in some bushes. According to police, when they gave chase the gunmen began firing shots at them. The officers returned fire and both suspects were struck several times. They were taken to the Chaguanas Health Centre where they were pronounced dead on arrival. Officers also recovered two pistols.
Police are not certain of a motive but said Painter was known to them for his involvement in a kidnapping several years ago. Police said Painter had addresses in Enterprise, Chaguanas, San Fernando and Tunapuna.
Police have already held one murder suspect while another one is being questioned.