In what police believe to be an act of revenge, a man posing as a distressed motorist gunned down scrapyard dealer Shym Maharaj in Gasparillo on Saturday night. The assailant, clad in a shorts and T-shirt, walked into Maharaj's businessplace Go-Express Transport Limited shortly after 8 pm. He told Maharaj that his father's car had stalled on the Solomon Hochoy Highway because of a punctured tyre and he needed to borrow a spare. Maharaj, 42, of Second Street, Harmony Hall, readily agreed. But as Maharaj turned to get the tyre, the assailant pulled out two guns and began firing. Six bullets struck Maharaj on the face, chest, abdomen and back. He died on the spot.
The assailant then fled the scene on foot. It is believed he ran through Second Street, Harmony Hall, and boarded a waiting car which sped off in the direction of the highway. Villagers expressed shock and grief over the killing, saying Maharaj was an honest man who often provided employment to people in the area. Several people said the killing could have been linked to a murder in 2007, where one of Maharaj's relatives was charged. Maharaj's son, Ishwarnath Maharaj, said his father left home around 8 pm to go to his garage, after one of his trucks arrived with a load of scrap iron. "He went to the garage to see about it...While he was there, a man came and killed him," Ishwarnath said.
He said before the killing, a man came to the area asking Maharaj. Ishwarnath said the gunman did not rob his father. He said since the 2007 incident, death threats were made to the family. Last year, Ishwarnath said gunmen riddled his aunt's home with bullets, but no one was hurt. "I was also beaten and chopped on my head," he said. Another relative said both families were previously friends, but since the 2007 incident, they became enemies.
Robbery ruled out
Police said yesterday that they were working on several leads. Officers have ruled out robbery as a motive because Maharaj's wallet was not stolen. An autopsy is expected to be done on Maharaj's body today at the Forensic Science Centre. San Fernando Homicide officers are continuing investigations.