When Joshua Mahabir died from gunshots on Wednesday night, the spanner he used to fix his car was still in his hand and the phone he was speaking to his wife on lay at his side.
Although the father of three had several arrests to his name, was defending a larceny charge in the High Court and spent time in jail for unpaid maintenance, relatives said he was not a troublemaker who deserved to be shot dead on the streets.
A gunman shot Mahabir, 39, of Gowers Well Road, Fyzabad, several times as he was repairing his Nissan Sunny B-12, which stalled along John Jules Trace Extension. Death came on the third anniversary of his father Lall Mahabir’s death. Fyzabad police responded to a report of gunshots in that community around 8.40 pm.
When PCs Renwick, Jaglal and WPC Noriega arrived at the scene, they saw Mahabir lying on the roadway next to his car. Crime Scene Investigators found one 12-gauge cartridge casing, two fragments and a cell phone. They processed Mahabir’s car and allowed relatives to wreck it. At his relatives’ home yesterday, his brother Anand Mahabir explained that he went to pick up someone before work at JMZ Logistics, where he was a supervisor.
While driving along John Jules Trace Extension, an engine belt snapped. Mahabir hopped a ride to work and returned with a mechanic to repair the car in the evening. Residents along John Jules Trace Extension reported that a car drove by Mahabir and turned around.
As the car drove past, a gunman shot at Mahabir. Bullets damaged the back windscreen of Mahabir’s car and struck a nearby house. The home owner said she and her family were upstairs when they heard the shots and a car speeding off.
“I was so scared. I heard a car speeding up the road and when we heard people start to talk, we looked out. It is not good. It will never feel good and there is nothing like safe because you do not even know who wants to kill you,” a 71-year-old resident told Guardian Media.
While police speculated that the murder could be drug-related, Mahabir’s sister Sherryann Jairam said he never dealt with illegal drugs. He only smoked marijuana, she said.
“He was a person always working. If he was not home: he was in his garden,” Jairam said.
Mahabir’s 13-year-old daughter had just written the Secondary Entrance Examination. He looked forward to knowing what school she would attend from September. Mahabir was also working to uplift his family life.
He stayed in a makeshift home made up of a disposable toilet and an oil field dog house, as he worked on building a house for his wife and three children. He already had blocks and steel beams in his yard and planned to continue work this weekend. Anand believes it was a case of mistaken identity, as they both work together. When they worked on Wednesday, he said Mahabir was in a jolly mood and would have told him if anything bothered him. Anand also said the family also took issue with some of Mahabir’s friends and warned him to stay away.
“Shivanand (Mahabir) was a man of a lot of words. You and he would fall out now and he would still talk to you. He would laugh with you. He would cry with you. You could tell him the world of things, and he would still laugh with you. He had no malice in his heart, so for somebody to rob him of his life like that is very unfair.”
Mahabir’s son, 14 and daughter know of his death but his three-year-old boy is still waiting to see his father driving by with the company truck and blowing his horn.