Hinds blames the police …”3 SHOT DEAD IN LAVENTILLE”

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Three persons including a 16-year-old schoolboy, were shot and killed in Laventille on Friday night.

And all the MP for Laventille, Fitzgerald Hinds, could say is to blame the police for not getting guns off the streets.

It is also ironic that President Paula Mae Weeks was visiting neighbouring Sea Lots on Friday night for another in the series of the PNM-sponsored Laventille talk shops.

The dead persons were identified as Joshua James, 16, Carlos Abraham, 36, and Curtis Hepburn, 44.

Police believe the three were collateral damage as the gang war between Laventille and Beetham gangs heats up.

According to reports, around 10.45 pm on Friday, a car pulled up at the corner of Erica Street and the Old St Joseph Road, where gunmen exited and opened fire.

James, a student of Success/Laventille Secondary School, was in the yard of his family’s home playing a video game when he was shot. He died on the spot.

Minister in the Ministry of Education, Dr Lovell Francis, tweeted his condolences. “Condolences to the students and staff of Success/Laventille Secondary on the loss of another young life. This must end.”

Abraham decided to spend some time liming near the Liberty Bar to celebrate the birthday of a friend from the area. He was shot when he tried to run when the gunfire started. He died on the spot.

Abraham was a taxi-driver in the area who used to transport school children.

Abraham was the father of a five-year-old daughter.

Curtis Hepburn was shot while urinating in a track between James’ home and the Liberty Bar. He was rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he died.

His father-in-law, Charles Small Maynard, said Hepburn did not deserve this death. “He had no right to die like this, he was a good, hard-working man. My daughter is in a mess because he was supposed to come back and meet her to go down to We Beat and the next thing she heard is he get shot. Why is it that we have to be suffering this way?

“I don’t get emotional but you see right now, I have to take care of my daughter because she is in a mess.”

No arrests have been made.

HINDS RESPONDS

Fitzgerald Hinds says the Police Service needs to do much better in getting rid of illegal guns off the streets.

Hinds said he was not satisfied the police were doing enough to deal with the problem.

Hinds had one month ago arranged a spiritual walk throughout his constituency because of the increase in crime. The walk was held on Saturday and Hinds decided to end it at the scene of the triple murder.

Hinds arrived with a contingent and a music truck playing gospel.

He said, “I am very genuinely saddened and troubled by these state of affairs.”

Hinds said according to information he received from the police, the trio were killed while going about their normal community affairs.

He said the issue of crime in his constituency was a community problem, a sociological problem where individuals have taken it upon themselves to get illegal firearms and to shoot wantonly around the place causing the mayhem, the trauma, the pain, the tears that you have witnessed here this morning.

He added, “There is a national security perspective on this which puts a responsibility on the Government, on the national security platform, and the police in particular to arrest this situation, to deal with this because this thing has been going on and on and on and on…there are a whole lot of illegal firearms around the place and it is the duty of the police to get them out of those hands and get them to safer places and I must say truthfully, I am not satisfied that I am seeing sufficient action in that regard.

“But there is also a responsibility on the community because in all cases, not most, all cases people in communities will know who is who and what is what but there is a lot of silence based on fear, based on deceit and as a result, the criminals are able to hide inside of the darkness of that silence and continue to hurt and harm innocent people who have nothing to do with them and their affairs.”

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Carlos Abraham 
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Joshua James
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Curtis Hepburn 

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