Gary Griffith

FLASHBACK: Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, centre, speaks to members of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) during a raid in Westmoorings in December 2018. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is defending his officers against claims that they shot and killed two people in Santa Cruz on Friday night without cause.

“These are the “imaginary bullets” that hit the police vehicle that was shot at in the police involved shooting in Santa Cruz” said Griffith is a statement issued on Saturday afternoon.

He said: “it is amazing that residents always have bionic eyes, when the police are defending their lives against imminent threats, but of the 340 plus persons killed this year, for some in that same area, with the same bionic eyes, they conveniently wear blinkers and see nothing nor do they seem to be concerned, because you never hear their voices when gang members kill innocent persons.”

He said these persons need to find a new story to tell.

Griffith said a police officer was shot during the incident “and the pathetic excuses by these convenient sympathizers, in areas where police are fired upon and respond by returning fire to defend themselves, are boring now.”

Shooting scene

The scene of the shooting

He asked: “What would they claim? Did the officer shoot himself to find an excuse to fire back? No! The officer was shot at. They tried to kill him. For those who refer to the victims as "innocent" people, this says a lot about these sympathizers' character.”

Griffith said: “Anyone who aims a weapon or shoot at my officers, they have my full support and directive to do what is required to neutralize the threat and they did. Does the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service need to be thankful that criminal elements fired first, and actually injured an officer and damage their vehicle to justify my officers returning fire? The answer is no.”

A man and his female companion were killed following a shoot-out with police on Friday night.

A bar patron and a police officer were also wounded in the shooting at the corner of La Canoa Road and Sun Valley Extension at around 9.30pm.

Police said officers of the SORT were conducting an exercise in the area when they attempted to stop a vehicle.

The driver pointed a firearm at the officers and began shooting, police said.

The officers responded hitting the driver and a woman, who was seated in the front passenger seat.

Police said officers were also fired upon by a man hiding in some nearby bushes. The officers responded but the man escaped.

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A police officer was shot in the left leg. And a man who was seated at a nearby bar was hit in the shoulder, police said.

The four people were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where the driver and his female passenger were pronounced dead.

Roshon King

Killed: Roshon King

The dead driver has been identified as Roshon King.

The wounded police officer and bar patron were treated and discharged.

An eyewitness, who posted to social media, said that King was taking his pregnant girlfriend for a drive to purchase food when the shooting happened.

The eyewitness denied that the occupants of the vehicle shot at the officers.

"Four police jeeps were speeding and the car was driving and the police just jump out at spray up the car. The woman was pregnant. She was going to buy wings to eat down the road. This is not right," the woman claimed.

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