POLICE killed four men and are searching for at least three others who pounced on the residence of a businessman and his family in a quiet gated community in Mayaro yesterday morning.

The four men were killed on the perimeter of the businessman’s townhouse around 9 a.m. in Krista Park, Beaumont Road, during an exchange of gunfire with police.

By 3 p.m. when the two hearses bearing the bodies drove out of the gated housing development, no one had turned up at the crime scene to enquire about the men.

The identities of the deceased men were not yet known, police said.

Crime scene investigators retrieved four firearms at the scene of the incident along with several spent shells.

Officers also retrieved a cutlass at the scene and a quantity of money in a box drain behind the townhouses, which they suspect had been dropped by the surviving members of the gang of bandits who fled.

The Express was told that when a team of officers responded they observed the men on the perimeter of the businessman’s townhouse and suspected they were attempting to escape with the loot.

As police officers entered the premises they claimed they were shot at by the intruders.

The team of officers returned fire and the four men collapsed under the gunfire and died.

Officers of the Eastern Division Task Force, Mayaro CID and other units responded and found the businessman and two family members bound with duct tape.

The townhouse gated community is located opposite the compound of the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre, where a variety of sporting facilities are available at the multi-purpose complex and a recreational ground geared towards the development of the community.

An employee of the centre who did not wish to be named said she heard multiple rounds of gunfire as they were discharged.

She initially thought it was a training exercise being conducted at the nearby Mayaro Fire Station.

“I was outside of my office on a phone call when I heard about six shots. At first, I thought the shots were some noises from possible a national security training exercise or a drill because the Mayaro Fire Station is located not far away. But then I saw a police jeep and another vehicle speeding down the road. Then I heard two more shots.

A short while after, a security officer from the guard booth ran over by my office and told me to get inside, and told my co-workers to lock up the office because there were bandits,” the employee recalled.

In a media statement following the incident, Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray said he believes Mayaro was turning into a crime hotspot.

“The police action against four armed bandits in Mayaro this morning further confirms my previous reports of the migration of criminals to rural communities. I wish to commend the Mayaro police on its swift and decisive response and actions in defence of the residents of the Mayaro community. In light of this dangerous new trend, I once more urge the police authorities to deploy more resources to the Mayaro-Rio Claro- districts.

The Mayaro constituency is quickly becoming a national crime hotspot.” He said crime is seriously impacting South-East Trinidad, as it is elsewhere, and the authorities must respond in a resolute and effective manner.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation Raymond Cozier yesterday appealed to young men to take a positive life path.

In a statement to the Express, Cozier said, “It is sad that our young people continue to engage in these types of criminal activities and are losing their lives so rapidly in these times. These crimes are bringing pain, frustration, and trauma to law-abiding citizens and the community members who live in these areas where these incidents are happening. It says something about the state of our country. I am calling on our young men to take a life path away from crime and engage themselves in a more positive direction in life.”

These killings have taken the number of people killed by police for the year to 42.

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