Chutney soca artiste Samraj "Rikki Jai" Jaimungal had to beg for his life after a gunman who shot at him and missed kept the loaded gun pointed at his waist for approximately three of the most terrifying minutes of his life, as he demanded money and other valuables in exchange for Jaimungal's life on Wednesday.
"He threatened to shoot me but I begged for my life. I told him he did not have to shoot, I will hand over the money and he showed me some mercy and only robbed me. I have to thank God for that," Jaimungal said in a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday.
He said he did not know if the unmasked gunman recognised him and for that reason did not shoot him.
"I don't know if he knew who I was but he showed mercy on me and I have to be grateful for that," he said.
This is not the first time Jaimungal has been a target of criminals. He described a similar attack in Marabella, south Trinidad, in 1988.
"I was mugged in Marabella. I was hospitalised. I still have three inches of scars in my back as a reminder but the good Lord is not ready for me yet. He know I have three kids to take care of," he said.
The crossover artiste, who is a semifinalist in both the International Soca Monarch and Chutney/Soca competitions with his 2016 hit "Leh We Fete", explained that shortly after midnight yesterday, he and his band had just finished rehearsals at the Speedway Building, San Juan, when they noticed the driver of a Nissan B14 driving up and down the street.
"A couple of the guys drove off and me and the drummer were still standing there. We observed the two guys making their way towards us and I told the drummer, 'This not looking too good leh we ride out of here.' I see the guy (driver) start to pick up pace and I run to my vehicle and my guy ran towards his."
Jaimungal said by the time he got to his vehicle, one of the occupants of the car, armed with a gun, jumped out and fired a shot at him. He said he don't know where that shot went, "because I went back with the police today (Thursday) and no shells were found, neither was my car damaged. I don't know if he shot it in the air."
A frightened Jaimungal, who was already seated in his vehicle, said in his haste to drive off he fumbled with the gear stick.
"At this time he (the gunman) was right up on me. Pointing the gun towards me, he said 'Open the door or I will shoot you.'"
Jaimungal complied and the gunman stuck the gun in his waist and continued to threaten his life.
"He then demanded my wallet. I don't walk with a wallet. I just had some cash and my driver's permit. I begged for my life because he kept saying he would shoot me but I told him you don't have to shoot, I will give you the money and whatever you want.
"The gun was on my waist all the time. I gave him the cash and he took my cellphone and he ran off," he recalled.
The bandit escaped in the waiting car.
Jaimungal said after he was able to regain his composure he actually chased after the bandits' car, but lost them near the Carib brewery. He said crime had been a problem for too long in T&T and even though the police keep producing statistics to say it was going down, "it is still happening.
"I don't have the solution for crime. I wish I did. That is the job of the police, those in authority. When it happens to you, you know how it feels. I just hope the police catch the culprits," he added.
However, he said the incident would not deter him and his band from their rehearsals.
"It is Carnival time, we have lots of jobs. We have to practise. The owners of the building will organise security and the band members will just have to look at the time we are leaving and how we are leaving, so we are not vulnerable," he said.
San Juan police are continuing investigations.