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Slain SRP Richard Babwah’s daughters were very traumatised yesterday as they tried to come to terms with the sudden death of their father, who was killed by bandits during a robbery in Arouca on Monday night. Babwah had planned for four months to ensure they spent a good Yuletide season together, and had purchased all their “dream” gifts, wrapped them and placed them under the family’s Christmas tree for December 25.
The younger of the two girls, who is eight, was said to be so traumatised that when she was told her 40-year-old father had been killed she insisted he would be back home with them very soon.
Yesterday at their Arouca home, Babwah’s wife, Akeba Sorzano, 27, was arranging the children’s gifts under the tree when the T&T Guardian visited.
“The last package came in today (yesterday) and I didn’t even have the strength to go and collect it to have it gift wrapped and put under the tree for them. Richard was looking forward for Christmas so much this year that we began planning and buying stuff from since September,” Sorzano said, adding Babwah took the girls to the Prisons Christmas party on Sunday and had a wonderful time with him.
Sorzano said they endured a traumatic time after she returned home after viewing his body at the Long Yuan Chinese Restaurant on Monday.
“... When I cam home after being at the restaurant the girls were seated inside and we made it look like it was just a family gathering, but as I walked in I broke down crying and the younger daughter came and hugged me and said ‘aunty Akeba don’t cry, daddy is breathing and in hospital and will be home soon. This broke my heart into more pieces,” she added.
Sorzano, who works in the cargo section at the Piarco International Airport, said she last saw Babwah on Sunday morning when she was getting ready to go to work. She said she received a message from him and responded at 5.47 pm and got no response, which she said was strange. Not long after she was contacted and told Babwah had been killed as he attempted to foil a robbery.
“I was told like he had seen when the Chinese man threw the bag of money at the bandits and he just couldn’t watch and do nothing…that was when he acted and was shot…he was shot in the face and chest and fell right there and died,” she recalled.
Sorzano said Babwah was dedicated and passionate about his job and carried out his duties with pride. She, however, noted he was very concerned about the crime situation and always chose to come straight home after work.
“He always said that he was afraid to be out there liming, as he feared being noticed as a police and killed,” Sorzano said.
Babwah, who had four years’ service, was last assigned to the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, Region 2, Arouca.
Yesterday, acting ASP Windel Flaviney described him as someone who was committed and dedicated, with a desire to serve others. Flaviney added that Babwah was also well liked and had a good rapport with his colleagues.
According to reports, Babwah had just gone off duty and was at the restaurant at about 5.20 pm when two men entered, one armed with a gun, and announced a hold-up. Babwah drew his pistol and there was an exchange of gunfire. One of the suspects was hit in the lower abdomen. Babwah was shot about the body and died on the scene. The bandits escaped in a red Nissan Almera, but the wounded suspect, a 33-year-old Maloney man, sought medical attention at the Arima District Health Facility, where he was subsequently detained. He was transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and was under police guard up to last night. The second suspect, a 31-year-old man, was held at Everglade Avenue, Maloney, at about 7.20 pm in the getaway vehicle.
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