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Cops probe shooting death of teen in forest
An 18-year-old boy who could not bear the thought of losing his prized hunting dogs ended up losing his own life after he was shot while searching a forested area in Santa Cruz for his four-legged friends. According to police reports, around 6 pm on Saturday, Kyle Thomas and his 16-year-old friend Anderson Baptiste were walking with his hunting dogs Queen and Thunder in a forested area off Santa Cruz Old Road in Santa Cruz. The dogs reportedly ventured off the path, forcing the teenagers to chase after them.
Baptiste told police that upon reaching a densely-forested area he was separated from Thomas and he only began looking for him when he heard a gunshot in the distance. When his search proved futile, Baptiste made his way out of the forest and called the police. Officers from the North Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF) led by Sgt Cornelius Samuel responded to the scene and accompanied Baptiste to the forested area to search for his friend.
After several hours of searching, Thomas’s body was found. Thomas had a gunshot wound below his waist. The two dogs were eventually found and handed over to Thomas’ uncle who assisted him in raising them. Investigators initially believed that Thomas was shot by a trap gun used by illegal poachers but no weapon was found when police searched the blood-stained path used by a wounded Thomas before he collapsed.
“By all indications it was not a trap gun. We are working on the theory that he stumbled on a marijuana plantation and was shot by a man guarding it,” a source close to the investigation said. No one was arrested up to late yesterday. Speaking with a news team from the T&T Guardian at his Assing Trace, Grand Curacaye Road, San Juan, home, Thomas’ aunt described the former student of San Juan North Secondary School as a avid hunter and outdoorsman.
“He could go in the bush for days. That was a big part of his life,” his aunt, who asked to remain unidentified said. She said since Environment Minister Ganga Singh had instituted a two-year hunting ban in October, last year, her nephew would occasionally carry the dogs for long walks when they became restless. “He real like to take care of the dogs and they had loved him too,” Thomas’ aunt said.
Thomas’ friend and fellow hunter, who was at the family’s home and only identified himself as Nathaniel, said the teenager was a loyal friend and skilled hunter. “Those dogs are A-class. That’s one of the few things a hunter willing to die for,” Nathaniel said. Thomas’ body was taken to the Forensic Science Centre in St James where an autopsy will be done today.
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