Praises are pouring in for a retired police superintendent whose bravery may have saved the lives of bar patrons from trigger-happy bandits yesterday.
The shootout at Marshall’s Korner at the corner of Sutton and Cipero Streets, San Fernando, left one bandit dead and the other in hiding, but with a gunshot wound.
Reports stated that around 11.10 am, two Mayaro men were having drinks at the bar when the gun-toting bandits confronted them.
The bandits robbed the 28-year-old man of a gold chain and his 29-year-old friend of his mobile phone before firing a shot at the men.
Seeing a potentially deadly situation unfolding, the former officer, who retired over a decade ago, drew his licensed pistol and fired at the bandits.
CCTV footage showed the bandits running out the bar and firing shots. However, one was struck in his chest. He collapsed and died after running a few metres down Sutton Street.
A pair of rubber slippers and a Glock pistol were recovered found near the body by crime scene investigators.
Seven bullet casings were also taken into evidence.
Identification was not found on the dead man and he had only been identified as “Tallo” up to yesterday evening.
As police officers cordoned off Sutton Street, a trail of blood led them down a path where the surviving bandit ran.
He was not found up until late yesterday and police have put hospitals and medical centres on alert for anyone seeking treatment for gunshot wounds.
During the shootout, the rear windshield of a red Suzuki SUV that was parked outside the bar was shattered by a bullet. Occupants of a passing maxi-taxi were spared harm as another bullet pierced its body.
Onlookers praised the ex-cop for his courage in taking on the bandits, even discussing his prowess with firearms, having taken down two gunmen.
Deputy Mayor Vidya Mungal-Bissessar said that that the bold, daylight robbery in a busy part of the city was alarming, especially since San Fernando prided itself on safety and security.
However, Mungal-Bissessar expressed faith that the police would be able to bring positive solutions. While there are crimes in the City, she said, the situation was improving.
Many onlookers had no sympathy for the dead bandit, but Mungal-Bissessar felt that it was still a loss.
She said: “We need to be our brothers’ keepers in another sense as well. We need to be charitable, we need to look after those who are needy and those who are less fortunate.
“No child is a lost child. An assailant is somebody’s child. It’s somebody’s husband, somebody’s brother, somebody’s son, somebody’s grandson. We can make more of an effort as a community to help these young children as they come up and prevent this sort of thing.
“Prevention is always better than cure I think,” Mungal-Bissessar said.