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Mystery bullet strikes Pancho
Popular restaurateur Parmanand “Pancho” Yarna was wounded in an early morning shooting in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Sixty-year-old Yarna remained warded at the Port-of Spain General Hospital in a stable condition up to late yesterday, as many regular customers of his business, Pancho’s Snackette, expressed shock and speculated over the cause of the shooting.
Shortly after midday he underwent emergency surgery to remove the bullet, which entered the right side of his abdomen, damaging his pancreas. He was expected to be kept overnight for observation and discharged later today or tomorrow. The shooting occurred as Yarna was talking with friends and a fruit vendor on the pavement next to the National Library on Queen Street, metres away from the doors of his snackette, which recently moved to Abercromby Street to allow for renovations to the original premises.
The snackette has been frequented by many workers in downtown Port-of-Spain since it opened almost 20 years ago. Staff of the T&T Guardian were especially concerned on hearing the news yesterday, as many have patronised it over the years. Police said around 6.10 am, Yarna and his friends reported hearing three gunshots. One of the eyewitnesses, who spoke to the T&T Guardian but asked not to be identified, said none of them saw a gunman or any vehicle driving away from the scene.
“Not a soul was on the road at that time,” the man said. Police said they will review CCTV footage from the library and neighbouring buildings in an attempt to identify the shooter. Although a motive was not established up to late yesterday, police said the only theory they had been able to come up with was that Yarna might have been hit by a stray bullet from a shooting which occurred almost simultaneously in east Port-of-Spain.
The shooting came hours before Yarna was due to open his latest business venture, a sports bar bearing his nickname, on Edward Street, around the corner from his original restaurant. In a brief telephone interview, Yarna’s son Kevin said the opening would be postponed until his father had fully recuperated. Kevin said his family was left in shock by the incident but was relieved Yarna’s injuries were not worse. “He is doing all right. He is just in pain. Right now we are grateful for small mercies,” Kevin said.
Senior Supt Wayne Boyd and Port-of-Spain CID detectives are investigating.