There must be a concerted effort to get illegal firearms off the streets and some kind of community programme must be implemented to reduce criminal violence.
This was the advice given by Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley on the heels of Tuesday’s “innocent” shooting and wounding of one of the reverends in the Anglican Church in T&T, Gerald Hendrickson.
Hendrickson, 54, was innocently shot and wounded during a gun chase by two men in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday at about 2 pm. Hendrickson is currently assigned to the St Margaret of Antioch Anglican Church & St Jerome's Mission in Belmont.
Berkley said, “One of the issues that we have to deal with is tackling the feeling that people can get away with the commission of crimes or that they will not be caught. That kind of urge and feeling has led to a sense of brazenness and disrespect for law and order and seeking to promote some chaos on our streets and in our communities.”
He also said there was need for prayers and teachings in the nation’s schools and homes, especially for the younger ones, as they need to be taught the importance of having a sense of civic and public responsibility.
“There is a need for some drastic action to help push back this kind of wanton and runaway situation where people feel they can act if they are angry...they can just respond to their anger and be without that self-control and self-discipline to hurt and even kill other people who are not even involved in their own conflict,” Berkley said.
Police said Hendrickson had just stepped out of a store at Prince Street and was on his way to purchase food when a man who was being chased by a gunman entered the same store. The gunman opened fire in the direction of the individual he was chasing and Hendrickson was hit twice in the stomach. Police said they recovered 14 spent shells and one live round on the scene. The suspect in the shooting was detained by police officers at Nelson Street within minutes.
Berkley confirmed that Hendrickson’s condition is serious but not critical. “I may see him soon as I just returned to the country, but I was told that he is in pain and somewhat restricted given the aftermath of the surgery that he undertook. However, we are praying for him and a speedy recovery.”