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Differing reports from relatives, residents as cops kill cousins
Bullets flew in two separate communities yesterday, resulting in the deaths of two teenagers and the injury of one police officer. In the case that drew the most attention, two cousins were shot dead by the police during an alleged shootout yesterday afternoon at Superville Hill, Morvant. Hakeem, 16, and Tevin Alexander, 15, of Lezama Trace, Chinapoo Village, were taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital nursing gunshot injuries after the shootout but were pronounced dead on arrival.
Hakeem represented T&T at the Carifta Games last year and Tevin was a Form Three student at Belmont Boys’ Secondary. Police said they were responding to a call about gunshots and heavily armed men in the area when they encountered three people, including the two youths, as they arrived at the scene. One man was armed with a shotgun while the youths had handguns, they said.
Officers said one of the men ran through a track while one of the two youths opened fire on them. The other youth also opened fire and attempted to run through the track. The officers said they returned fire and the two youth suspects were injured. They were later taken to the hospital where they succumbed to their injuries. Two revolvers were recovered at the scene.
Police said the Alexanders were wanted for attempted murder, breaking and entering, sexual assault and larceny of a vehicle. The suspect who escaped was also wanted, police said.
In a telephone interview yesterday, however, an eyewitness disputed the police account of what occurred. “The police tell them to go on their knees and put their hands up. They ask them where they come from and they ain’t give them time to say nothing and they put bullets in their belly.
“I say that is an injustice and start to make noise. All you not supposed to do that. The police that was there look up and he look at me and let go some bullets at my house like if that was me he would waste me the same way. He riddled the boy after that and gone.”
Lisa De Leon-Alexander, Tevin’s mother, said her son was innocent and was going to see his grandparents on the hill at the time he was killed. “If they do something talk to the parents,” she said. “The children dropped to their knees and begged for their lives and you still kill them. They ain’t search them or check them. All you buss my child skin if he was doing anything wrong.” She said her aunt, who lived near where the shooting occurred, saw the incident and begged for her nephews.
“She was begging for her nephews and they turn the gun on her. That is beyond outrageous. 'Cause somebody who seeing you do something wrong is begging you not to do it as a human being and you still do it.”
De Leon-Alexander said Tevin was unable to go to school because she had no money to send him. “They (police) are trained to protect and serve us but they kill us. They (boys) not in nothing. They were running from a man who was shooting behind them because he wants them to turn to Muslim. What part of my child, if he wants to turn to Jesus Christ and not Muslim, you should shoot him?” The mother denied Tevin was wanted by the police or known to the police.
Henry Alexander, Hakeem’s father, said his son was a national athlete. Pointing to a host of medals and trophies, he said his son had been laid off because he was ill for over a week but he had managed to negotiate with the boy’s employer to rehire him.
“I call him (Hakeem) and say the bossman wanted him to check him and he will get back the work,” he said.
“Then I heard there was a fight-up and the police shoot them. I did now come from down the islands and they say police shoot them. I surprise to hear police shoot him in the head and the cousin... he break the national record in school.” Henry said his son wanted to return to school (Success/Laventille Composite) and continue his career to become a professional athlete.
Boys no saints
Residents at Wallace Road claimed the two boys were not innocent and they had complained about them numerous times. One resident, who did not want to be identified, said the two youths, along with two other men, planned to ambush a relative of hers and he barely escaped with his life.
“They living up there and we living down here. I don’t know what they warring we for. They used to be here liming and drinking together. It was all of them,” she said.
“I told him (her relative) not to go because they shot up the house on Friday. I was waiting to give him money and when he come I hear him quarreling and bleeding plenty,” she said pointing to gunshots at the house.
She added: “The same one who they say is an athlete, his mother talk to him, his grandmother talk to him, father talk, aunt talk. Everybody talk to him. What going on with he?” She claimed they had Zion (Wallace Road) hot with illegal activity. Investigations are continuing.
Policeman shot in leg
Police were up to last evening searching Cameron Hill, Petit Valley, for gunmen who shot a colleague. The constable was shot in the leg after the officers responded to a report of a kidnapping in Maraval. Officers of the Western Division Task Force went to Cameron Hill around 3 pm as they followed leads but when they got there their pathway was blocked by debris.
PC Jason Clement and some other colleagues got out of their vehicle to remove the debris when they were fired upon. He was shot in the right leg. The gunmen escaped in nearby bushes.
Also last night, police were also searching the compound of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen mosque in Carapo and surrounding houses during a raid for arms and ammunition.