While homicide investigators are probing a drug link in Tuesday’s quadruple murder in Rancho Quemado, some information point to a hit ordered on the life of one of the victims, Antonio Alexander.
But detectives said the inquiries are in its early stages and they will be exploring all angles in solving the shootings of Alexander, 28, of Claxton Bay, Shaquille Dottin, 21; Jabari Toby, 17 of Palo Seco and Alafia Augustine, 17 of Alexander Village, Santa Flora.
While it was suggested that the hit on Alexander was ordered from prison, investigators also suspect that he had a hand of last week’s murder of Cindy Joseph and Kadeem Elijah.
According to reports, five men were seated in a silver wagon at a house opposite the Rancho Quemado Government Primary School, at around 6 pm Tuesday when two gunmen got out of a Nissan AD Wagon and sprayed the car with bullets, killing Dottin, Toby and Alexander instantly. Augustine was able to crawl out of the car and he was taken to the Siparia District Health facility where he died about 30 minutes later. The gunmen then drove their wagon to another area in Rancho Quemado and set it ablaze. Both wagons were taken to the Special Evidence Recovery Unit in Cumuto for processing.
Erin police responded along with detectives from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations combed the area for the killers, who were long gone.
They later found the driver of the wagon, who is from Diego Martin.
He told them that he was hired to take Alexander from Rancho Quemado to the St Margaret’s Police Station in Claxton Bay, where he had to sign a book as a condition of bail. Alexander was before the Couva Magistrates’ Court, accused of attempting to murder a relative. It was believed the wagon followed the driver to the apartment where Alexander recently began staying. After picking up the men, he drove the car into a neighbour’s yard to turn. He noticed the gunmen approaching and ran away. The car eventually hit a column, making it easy for the gunmen to hit their targets.
An occupant of the house where the murders happened said several people, including children, were at home at the time of the shooting. One woman was walking into the yard when she heard automatic weapons firing and ran back into the house. No one was hurt, but the traumatised family has since left their home.
At the Forensic Science Centre, Alexander's relative admitted that he was a troubled person, but was loving to his family.
“Antonio was bad and I'm not ashamed to tell anyone he did not take mess from anyone, not even the police. But he loved me and his sister… People blame parents for what children do because we can lay down the rules and take them to church. Children are born with their own minds. Once a child makes up their minds to do something they will do it,” the relative said.
As for Dottin, the relative said he was a mama’s boy and did everything legally.
At Augustine’s home yesterday, his mother Antonio Morgan could barely talk because of grief. However, his sister Chernice did admit that he had a troubled past and got into trouble often. A form four student of the Siparia East Secondary School, he was expected to leave and enrol in the MyPart programme in the coming months. But Chernice said her brother was never arrested. On Tuesday, he did not go to school but left home around 7 am. He did not tell his mother where he was going. He was expected to meet Toby, his close friend.
“It looked like it was a set up because my brother and the next person who was driving the car ran. But it was only my brother that got shot and they (killers) never found the person (driver) who got out the car. We don’t know who that person is,” Chernice said.
At Toby’s home, his uncle Richard said his death probably came because of the company he kept. He said his nephew was a cool person who didn’t interfere with anyone.
“As far as I know, he was home all morning but he went down by his cousin (Dottin). When he went down there, his niece was supposed to go plat his hair with the same car that they were killed in. She didn’t come, but he thought that he would take a ride in the same car. Next thing another car came and block them and they got shot up,” Toby said.
He said the owner of the car lived in the area, but he did not know much about the person.