RADHICA DE SILVA
A retired probation officer, under whose home the police cornered and killed four bandits following the horrific Pennywise Plaza heist, is urging youths to rest down their guns.
Still visibly shaken from the ordeal, Annmarie Elbourne, retired county Senior Probation Officer, said even though things were hard in the country, youths should never resort to crime.
"I am elderly now and I am retired and I need young people to care for me, to care for my family and not to hurt my family," Elbourne wept as she recalled how she and five members of her family remained huddled upstairs while the four bandits tried to get inside.
One of the robbers tried to enter through a side door, but Elbourne said thanks to the vigilance of her neighbours, they were able to shut all doors tightly preventing the robbers from coming upstairs.
"I am 67 years old and I never thought this would happen. I have worked my butt off as a probation officer. I have worked immensely hard and this is the reward for my family and I?"
She added: " We need to look at the direction that society is taking. I implore young people, to rest the gun down. I am a pensioner and I have to face the grocery and drug store, and yes it's not easy. I accept that but we don’t have to go into crime, We don’t. Please Trinidad and Tobago, please rest down the guns," she cried.
Recalling teh horror, Elbourne said six gunmen climbed a wall to the back of her home and entered the premises but a relative saw the men and alerted the,.
"He tell us to close the house, lock ourselves inside. One bandit was trying to come through the side door and I kept my head on and I try to keep composed. I called my brother who is police," she revealed.
By then the six bandits were hurriedly trying to enter.
Police officers arrived minutes after and cornered the thieves. Two of them ran through some bushes. The officers spotted the men and surrounded the house. About 20 gunshots rang out and all four robbers lay dead.
Elbourne said she knew it was "no ordinary firing."
Since the incident residents of Jones Street have been terrified, locking their doors and boosting security around their premises.
On Monday, two security officers Jeffrey Peters and Jerry Stewart of Allied Security Services died after being ambushed and shot while conducting a cash-in-transit operation at Pennywise Plaza. Peters died on the spot while Stewart died on his way to the hospital. A third guard Peola Baptiste was shot in the head and remains warded in critical condition at the San Fernando General Hospital.
There are several known hotspots in La Romaine and police have been keeping watch on known criminals. Guardian Media will update this story as more information comes to hand.