Ragbir Lalsingh

SAD BUT SAFE: Ragbir Lalsingh and his wife speak to the media at Lady Chancellor Hill yesterday. The body of a suspect was recovered at the scene following a police shooting on Wednesday night. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

WALKERS and runners say they felt safe exercising along Lady Chancellor Road, popularly known as Lady Chancellor Hill, despite Wednesday’s shooting death of two men by an off-duty police officer.

The Express polled approximately ten runners as they climbed the hill yesterday, but most expressed no fear despite the incident occurring mere hours earlier.

The police patrols were also regular.

Police said around 7 p.m. that night, a 33-year-old constable and his girlfriend were walking along the popular exercise spot, when they saw three men in a gold Nissan Almera watching them intently.

One of the men got out with a gun and fired on the officer.

The officer fired back at the man who was standing near the car, wounding him. He was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital, where he died. He was later identified as Franklyn De Freitas, of Richplain Road, Diego Martin. He turned 35 the day he was killed.

Officers yesterday returned to where they had recovered the body of another man, while a third man turned up at the Port of Spain hospital with gunshot wounds. He is now under police guard at the hospital.

“I have been walking here for 35 years and I never felt unsafe, and when we first started it was with a large group, but now it is just three of us,” said a woman, who wanted to be identified only as Ms Lalsingh.

“I heard how it happened, though... it is so sad,” she said.

Her husband, Ragbir Lalsingh, who was with her, said: “We have been walking here many years now, and I remember that about four years ago a lady was attacked and then nine years before that another lady was attacked, so to me... it is safe and I would encourage anyone to come.”

One woman who said she heard about what happened added, “My thing is, I am not coming here too late in the evening, but during the day is okay.”

The woman next to her said, “I am sticking to my routine, yes, but I do cover myself in the precious Holy blood of Jesus Christ.”

Another woman, Tasha, said, “A few years I have been coming here and I never felt unsafe, but I don’t come here in the night, but only in the day, and there are always patrols right through.”

Jenna, another walker, said, “I have been walking here eight years and never really felt unsafe because there are lots of police patrols from Christmas straight into Carnival, but still I try not to be out here when darkness falls.”