A well-orchestrated hit is how investigators described the execution of 38-year-old gang leader Anthon “Boombay” “Boombi” “Bombi” Boney, who was shot dead by gunmen dressed in tactical gear after they stopped his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) along the northbound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway, near the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, just before noon yesterday.
Investigators told Guardian Media that a dark-coloured SUV intercepted Boney’s vehicle along the highway close to 11.10 am and ordered him to pull over onto the shoulder.
Boney, of Africa Road, John John, Laventille, stopped his dark grey Kia Sorento SUV, licensed PDP 7944. One of the occupants of the other vehicle, who was dressed in black tactical gear and black boots, approached Boney’s vehicle and after asking him if he was the owner, pumped several bullets into Boney.
Following the shooting, Boney’s vehicle, which investigators said was still idling, rolled a short distance forward into a ditch and came to a halt.
The gunman ran back to the SUV and drove off northbound with other occupants. Police suspect they may have used a black Toyota Rav 4.
Investigators revealed a 63-year-old woman who was also in Boney’s vehicle escaped unhurt. They also believe there was a third occupant in the SUV.
Senior intelligence sources told Guardian Media that Boney’s killing “will have deep ramifications in the underworld,” adding they have already received credible information about those who are potentially responsible for Boney’s execution.
The intelligence sources said a recent incident in which a well-known gang leader escaped an assassination attempt may be connected to Boney’s death.
In fact, over the last few weeks, law enforcement stated there had been constant chatter about criminal elements planning to use police and/or army uniforms to commit serious crimes.
Sources said they have also received credible information that the assassins responsible for Boney’s killing may have been rogue law enforcement elements for hire by the underworld.
Boney’s killing sparked immediate outrage in the Laventille area, as gangsters allegedly loyal to Boney shot and killed a man moments later.
When the Guardian Media visited the scene where Boney was killed, police had cordoned off the left lane of the highway, while Crime Scene Investigators searched the area for spent shells and other evidence.
Vehicular traffic was brought to a stop for a few minutes by officers as they processed the scene, which led to a traffic pile-up on both lanes of the highway.
Motorists and passengers were seen trying to take pictures and videos of the scene.
Minister vows there’ll be no upsurge in violence
Residents from the John John area yesterday declined to comment on the incident. However, they expressed concern over a possible gang war and called for a heavy presence of soldiers and police in the community for the rest of the day and every day beyond the weekend.
Speaking with Guardian Media briefly in a telephone conversation, Boney’s sister Dixie Ann confirmed that she was able to view his body but said she couldn’t speak more on his murder or anything else.
However, sources in John John confirmed that an emergency meeting was called by Boney’s “lieutenants” to analyse the circumstances surrounding his murder and to put together a list of names/gangs who could be responsible.
Police sources said they are now preparing for a spree of reprisal murders and shootings.
In an immediate response yesterday, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds said the killing of Boney is under “serious and prompt” investigation.
Hinds said he is awaiting a further report.
He also confirmed that as Laventille West MP he had heard about “some shootings ” and the closure of two health centres—Success Laventille and Upper Laventille Health Centres— but said he could not say for sure if it was connected to Boney’s killing.
“But I do know once that kind of shooting is taking place again, I have been informed by the police that they are on their usual patrols in the area, exerting their usual presence and will do what they have to do to ensure that that kind of thing does not continue, if it is in fact that it happened, and to bring safety and security and peace to the people of Laventille,” Hinds said.
Hinds said he was confident that things will not get out of hand, “I am confident that the presence of law enforcement platforms all over Trinidad and Tobago has been able to and continue to contain that type of volatility. So I’m confident that it will not get out of hand. We have been grappling with an increase in the number of murders over the last few days. This report is just the last of them.”
According to police, Boney was believed to be the second biggest gang leader in the country.
He had 21 sub-gangs and a rough total of 600 young men under his command. Boney sold compact disc’s on the streets of Port-of-Spain up until he took control of former Laventille “Don” Mark Guerra’s turf. Around that same time, he started to operate a car dealership in the area.
In 2011, Boney was detained in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Boney was detained for a total of seven days “for inquiries” and was released on December 5, 2011, without any charge being laid against him.
He sued the State and won after a High Court Judge determined that his five-day detention was unlawful. However, his attempt to retrieve $500,000 in damages was reduced to $70,000.
Also, Boney was found not guilty of shooting a T&T Defence Force intelligence officer during an incident in 2002.
Police said he had several other brushes with the law over the years.