Licensed electrician and YTEPP lecturer Allister Pierre was yesterday fatally shot in the neck during a police-involved shooting in which two officers were also injured, with one suffering a broken arm. The tragedy happened after the officers went to Pierre’s Brazil Village, San Raphael home to arrest him on an outstanding domestic abuse warrant.
Pierre was the third police shooting victim in four days and the sixth for the year so far.
According to a police report, at about 2.50 am yesterday Northern Division officers shot Pierre when he reportedly attacked two of them as they responded to a report of domestic violence at a house at Brazilome Branch Trace. He was later taken to the Arima District Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment. The police report said one of the officers sustained a broken arm while his colleague sustained other injuries.
Police said they were executing a warrant for his Pierre’s arrest when they were attacked. They had a warrant out for Pierre for malicious wounding and added that he was known to them having had a string of offences to his name, including larceny, robbery, sexual offences and drug possession.
However, speaking with the Guardian Media yesterday, Pierre’s wife Akeisha said she believes her husband was mistakenly targeted by the police. She said her husband was not abusive to her and was not involved in all the offences noted by the police.
She said yesterday morning the officers came twice to her home and said it was on the second visit that things escalated and her husband was attacked by the officers while in her presence in their bedroom. She said her husband was shot once in the neck and believes the bullet ricocheted to the jaw.
“Allister kept telling the police that he did nothing wrong and asked them and begged them to tell him why they wanted to arrest him. He even told the officers ‘well, I didn’t hit my wife so tell me why allyuh doing this to me,” Akeisha said.
“He also told them that he had to teach YTEPP on Monday and they cannot lock him up…all this time, I stood on the opposite side of the room in shock as to what I was seeing. They held him against the wall and beat him very badly. He tried to defend himself.”
She added, “At one point one of the officers took up a sledgehammer, which is his own tool that he uses for his electrical work and was forcing it to hold him so maybe they could say that he had a weapon on him. The police officers threatened him several times to shoot him…I was shocked.”
However, Akeisha admitted she was forced to make a report to the police against him for being “rowdy” towards her last year.
“We had an argument and we both were very rowdy and loud and I did go to the police and make a report, but I had begged them to come and talk to him and both of us, which the police officers did do. But since then to now Allister and I have been living good and he never hit me or threatened me in any way.”
Akeisha said she and Pierre, a father of one son, knew each other for years but only got married about six months ago. She said he worked hard at his trade and building his company - Allistar’s Electrical Services.
Akeisha said she intends to seek justice for Pierre’s killing and added that she will be lodging a report at the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) headed by David West.
Contacted yesterday, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said he will await the investigation into the incident which will be triggered. He, however, noted that it was strange that people witness police-involved shootings and are quick to point fingers of blame and wrong at the police.
“It is always interesting though that whenever there is a police shooting, there are always persons close to the deceased who saw everything and state that the police were wrong as they become judge and jury on the spot, with the media splashing one side of the story. But when hundreds of young gang members kill fellow young men in cold blood, no one ever sees anything,” Griffith said.
With respect to police-involved shootings in general, Griffith said there is a war and police officers put their lives on the line to win this battle.
“To those who choose to bury their heads in the sand, there is a virtual war on there, with hundreds of men carrying hundreds of illegal firearms. The police are expected to carry out their duty and put their lives on the line to win this battle, but every time there is a firefight in this war the officer is immediately targeted and found guilty by a few, with this always being the angle published, without an investigation being held. I see this as very unfortunate,” he said.
Head of the Police Complaints Authority David West, when contacted yesterday, said he would look into this latest incident and launch an independent investigation.
Five other deadly police-involved shootings for 2019
January 19: Police shot and killed Jamel Woods, 24, of Waterhole, Cocorite, while he was on his way home. Relatives who said they witnessed the incident claimed Woods was robbed and shot to death.
January 23: Police shot and killed robbery suspect and ex-soldier Vernon Simon in Caroni.
January 24: Police shot robbery suspect Casey Watts, of Beetham Gardens, while at the Frank Jeeta Inspection Station along the Eastern Main Road, San Juan. Watts died at the hospital.
February 7: Police shot 24-year-old Allan Muhammed at Crown Trace, Enterprise. Muhammed died at the Chaguanas Health Facility.
February 9: An off-duty police officer shot and killed David Simmons, a PH taxi-driver, while at the Edinburgh 500 taxi stand at Andrew Street, Chaguanas.