A five-month-old baby girl survived a close brush with death yesterday, narrowly escaping gunfire from armed men engaged in what police are calling a turf war in east Port of Spain.Her mother, 39-year-old Patrina Salandy was not so lucky. She died after the gunmen shot her in the head, while she was still cradling baby Kayla to protect her.Residents later reported finding the baby, who reportedly survived with only minor injuries, in the road beside her mother's body.
Salandy was walking along St Paul Street with her baby and her three older sons Lorenzo, 13, Raheem, 11 and Jaydon, through the area in which residents had set up road blocks on Saturday to protest the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Keshorn Daniel.
Residents of neighbouring Parkside Plaza, which overlooks the bloodstained pavement where Salandy was killed, refused to give their names in fear of reprisals, but said that around 11.45 am, a group of men with what they described as machine guns ran down the hill and opened fire. Salandy tried to protect her baby, who dropped to the ground after she was killed.
Seeing the baby drop, residents rushed to save her, taking her and her siblings to safety inside their own apartments. They reported removing the baby's bloodstained clothes and giving her a bath. The baby was very agitated and her makeshift caregivers were worried that she had been hurt in the fall. Mother and daughter were taken in private vehicles to the hospital.
"You know how long the lady lie down there," said one shaken resident from a nearby apartment, "no ambulance, no police, no nothing."Baby Kayla was still in the care of Parkside Plaza residents when the T&T Guardian visited the scene. A shocked Kurt Fields, husband of Salandy and father of baby Kayla, returned around 1.30 pm and gave the baby to relatives who rushed her to the Port-of-Spain General hospital to be checked for injuries. The Besson Street Police said that they didn't have any information on the shootings.
A 16-year-old boy identified only as Reshaun, was also fatally shot in the incident. Friends of the second victim said this was the third time he had been shot.Salandy's killing was one of three murders recorded yesterday, pushing the murder toll for the year to 207.