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Police have killed two gunmen less than 30 minutes after the gunmen opened fire on a Cunupia businessman yesterday. Investigators said 40-year-old Darryl Painter was shot dead while selling Valentine’s Day gifts next to the Evening Light Tabernacle on the Southern Main Road, Cunupia. His killing took the murder toll to 70. His attackers, who were caught after a high-speed chase, were shot multiple times by police during a shoot-out near the Preysal Interchange in Couva. Up to late yesterday the men were yet to be 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 him several times. Eyewitnesses said as if in a scene from a Hollywood movie, the gunman laughed loudly while shooting Painter and when his magazine was empty, he pulled out another gun and continued shooting. The gunmen then escaped in a stolen white Mazda 3 car. Crime scene investigators found more than ten spent shells at the scene.
After being tipped off, a quick response co-ordinated by Central Division Supt Johnny Abraham and Insp of CID Terrence Williams saw tactical units, Southern Division Highway Patrol and the National Security helicopter surveying the area. Police spotted the car travelling south along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway. On nearing the Preysal Interchange, the gunmen ditched the car and tried to run off. However, police including Sgts Benjamin and Toolaram gave chase and the gunmen began shooting at them.
The police returned fire and both suspects were hit several times. They were taken to the Chaguanas Health Centre, where they were pronounced dead on arrival. Police recovered two pistols. Police are not certain about the motive for Painter’s killing but Painter was known to them for his involvement in a kidnapping several years ago. A witness at the murder scene said Painter got a call yesterday morning from someone asking him to assist in a robbery. He suspects that Painter was shot dead because he refused the job.
Police were unsure of Painters’s fixed address as he had addresses in Enterprise, Chaguanas, San Fernando and Tunapuna. The incident was the sixth murder in central Trinidad within recent weeks. Despite some criticism for the killings Central Division officers also received praise from social media users. Abraham and Williams also commended the officers for their quick response.