An Enterprise, Chaguanas man is calling for justice after his son and another man were killed in an alleged shootout with police yesterday.
Sterling Raymond Jnr and Nigel ‘Chappy’ Edwards were killed in a shootout with police a stone’s throw away from the Longdenville Police Post just before noon yesterday.
The official report from police stated that around 11.45 am, officers of the Central Division Intelligence Unit stopped a vehicle along the Longdenville Old Road. Police said the vehicle, registration PDL 7094, was known to them. However, the officers said the men in the vehicle began shooting at them and in keeping with their use of force policy, they returned fire.
Raymond Jnr and Edwards were hit and later taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility by the police, where they succumbed to their injuries. Both men were from Bhagaloo Trace, Enterprise.
But Raymond Jr’s father, Sterling Raymond Sr, told another media house the men were assassinated and has disputed the police’s version of events. He claimed his son was set up in an edited video that was posted online.
“If a van, a vehicle park up a stone throw from the station and allyuh intercepting the vehicle, allyuh will intercept the vehicle with the right caution and allyuh did not take the right caution, so I am saying today allyuh putting up viral this video for a whole week and then kill them, then kill them, allyuh assassinate them and I not putting water in my mouth, I could go next, I aged I is 57, allyuh could do what allyuh want,” Raymond Snr said.
The man said this was the second son he had lost, alleging the police were responsible for the deaths of his children. Guardian Media Ltd could not confirm the identity of Raymond Sr’s second son. However, he said he did not consider Raymond Jnr or Edwards to be criminals, claiming they were never wanted by the police.
“They was doing they little weed and whatever and whatever, they never wanted to say they was wanted, they was murderers, to say allyuh want them, they never (were on) Beyond the Tape, allyuh come on.”
He said he wants the Government to look into the shooting, as he said his son was awakened from sleep by Edwards to leave the house.
“My son was sleeping, the man that die together with him call him so I would like to know who called the man what died, that is all. What I am saying is they were assassinated by the police,” he repeated.
He claimed the police officers did not act the way they were ‘supposed’ to act.
“This thing looking like the police get pay off. Longdenville police in too much of racket, I saying that, allyuh do what allyuh want after that,” Raymond Snr claimed.
During his Beyond the Tape programme yesterday, Insp Roger Alexander was asked to respond to Raymond’s Sr’s claims. Alexander sent out condolences to the man but had several questions of his own.
“You said openly your son does a little bit of weed, et cetera, et cetera, so what is the et cetera, et cetera? Is the et cetera, et cetera possession of firearm, possession of ammunition to endanger life? Is that the et cetera, et cetera we are dealing with today? Because if it is, sometimes parents, we need to take responsibility for our children’s behaviour,” Alexander said.
He said if Raymond Sr was aware that he had already lost a son to gun violence, he should have considered preventing his living son from getting involved in that type of life.
“Because if you know sir, that you just lost a son some time ago and the other one is heading down that same pathway, then what do you think your responsibility is as a parent, not to help change the course? Because you are seeing the same thing about to go down, so you stand up and say your son does a little weed and et cetera et cetera, you never try to change that pathway? You were comfortable?” Alexander asked.
Alexander said after the officers were shot at, they still showed duty of care and rushed both men to the nearest health facility to try to save their lives.
He said an investigation into the shooting will take place and he urged anyone with information to come forward.
Contacted yesterday, Police Complaints Authority (PCA) head David West said they were already moving on the matter.
“Any police-involved shooting will automatically be investigated by the PCA - the investigation has already started,” West said.
Also contacted yesterday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith declined to comment on the incident, saying he would not make statements on an active investigation.
But social media users had a mouthful to say as the news of the shooting spread yesterday.
Some were on the side of the police, with comments like, “You as a father failed your children, don’t blame the police for their deaths” and “Sometimes parents be serious condoners of wrong…they always blame society instead of recognising the faults of their children.”
Some were more impassioned, claiming Raymond Jnr and Edwards were ‘killers.’
“Live by the sword and die by it…big drug lords…distressing people and stealing cars, it good an yuh like badness,” one user wrote.
Others, though, questioned the officers’ version of events.
“Nah that is madman thing, why these police does tell such not making sense lies for eh. So the two alleged just started shooting? Oh plz,” one user wrote.
Another wrote, “You have to be rell sheep to believe this story yes cause I cya see how a man go take he new Tuscon to crash into a police car to do a shooting, them police had to be marking he to kill he a while so that was the plan…”
There have 21 police-involved killings so far for 2021.