Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob is calling on citizens to work with the Police Service to take down criminal elements, in light of a recent spike in murders.
Since Friday, at least 15 people were killed throughout Trinidad and Tobago in separate incidents.
The two latest reports were recorded yesterday morning in the Port of Spain Division.
The deceased have been identified as Nizam Ali Cadette, 32, and Jamal “Poppy” Goodridge, 39.
The killings have pushed the murder toll to 317. The comparative figure for the same period last year was 321.
Cadette, of Bath Street, East Dry River, was a garbage collector.
He was fatally shot at about 7.05 a.m., along Laventille Road, Laventille, in the vicinity of Lovell Place.
The Express was told that he was on a blue garbage truck proceeding west along Laventille Road, when two armed men ran out of Lovell Place and began shooting at him.
Cadette attempted to flee by jumping off the truck and running away but he was struck to the head.
The suspects then fled the scene.
The police were notified and a team of officers from the Port of Spain Task Force, led by Cpl Huggins, responded.
They found Cadette lying on the roadway and he was taken to Port of Spain General Hospital, but died while undergoing treatment.
Goodridge, of Bldg 45, Nelson Street, Port of Spain, was fatally shot at about 6.15 a.m. near his home.
The Express was told that he was standing at the corner of Nelson and Cockerton streets, when a white Nissan Tiida drove past.
Gunshots were heard and Goodridge fell to the ground, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds about the body.
He was taken to the General Hospital where he died at about 6.40 a.m.
And relatives of Triston Robinson, 23, who was shot dead in Cocorite on Tuesday afternoon were confused about his killing yesterday.
Speaking to the Express at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, his father Andre Robinson said:: “He wasn’t in anything illegal or anything like that, as far as we know. He had his own business, and he stayed away from the gun life and violence. He has no record, nothing. The only ‘criminal’ thing you could possibly link him to was weed. And that and all he used to make sure he stayed within the law. But he liked that quick dollar. He was young, he liked that fast money. I know he was hustling and driving persons around. From what we understand, he took them up to Cocorite to get some weed and like either it went bad or they were set up.”
Jacob blames gang violence
Speaking with the Express yesterday evening, Jacob said there has been an increase in gang violence over the last month, but the police had already put initiatives in place to address the matter.
“Unfortunately, yes, there has been a surge. Every life lost is one that we will mourn. However, I just want to indicate that we have noticed the uptick in killings and we have put things in place to begin counter-operations in a bid to maintain the peace. So far, the killings have been centred in the Northern divisions and the Port of Spain divisions, and from our intelligence, this is due to gang rivalry. There have been some splits recently, and these killings are related to these divisions. So we are actively working to bring these numbers back under control,” Jacob said.
He added that while some persons may be critical of these killings taking place under his current tenure, he did not wish to politicise the deaths.
“We have had at least eight times this year where over five persons were killed within a matter of hours. Sadly, it is nothing new. It is because these young criminals have access to high-powered weapons, such as sub-machine guns. So when they shoot it’s not just one person getting killed, it’s two and three, and sometimes innocent bystanders because of the nature of those weapons. So to say that at this stage this spike is something new and unprecedented, that would be a total fallacy,” Jacob said.
He called on citizens to work with the police, especially as it related to the removal of firearms.
“As of September, we seized over 550 guns. We have partnered with Crime Stoppers. I am asking the public to work with us. The information you give will be done so anonymously, and can lead to the removal of guns, which can lead to lives being saved. And who knows, given the type of weapons being seized, it may lead to your life or the life of someone you know being saved. So, please, if you have the information, call us, and we will work on it,” Jacob said.