Akid Duke

Minutes before 15-year-old Akid “Chuffie” Duke was killed, gunmen warned the driver of the vehicle the boy was seated in to “leave the area” as it was “hot.”

The driver, police said, drove off but went to purchase a cigarette to smoke at a nearby parlour.

It was after that a gunman walked up to the car and pumped bullets into the teenager, killing him in the car.

According to a police report, at about 3.30 pm on Tuesday, police officers responded to a report of a shooting a 150-1 12th Avenue, Bon Air Gardens, Arouca. When they arrived on the scene they saw spent shells strewn across the roadway leading to the office of Barnford General Contracting Services.

The officers then conducted enquires and interviewed persons, which led them to the boy’s mother Afeisha Duke. The woman told them she had hired Anthony Joseph, of Port-of-Spain, to transport her and her son so she could undergo a job interview at Barnford Contracting Services.

Police said Joseph, Duke and her son arrived at the Bon Air address at about 2.30 pm and she went inside for her interview. Duke told police at about 3.15 pm she heard several gunshots and when she came to make checks outside, the vehicle her son was in was gone.

After further enquiries, police were told that Joseph drove to the Arouca Police Station after Duke was shot and reported the incident and sought assistance. Joseph told police that he and Duke, who was in the front passenger seat, were in the vehicle around 3 pm and Duke was playing games on his cell phone.

The driver told police that two males, one of African descent, slim built, brown skin complexion with long open hair, approached the vehicle on the passenger side. Joseph put down the glass and the men warned him that the area was “hot” and told them to leave. Joseph then drove to a nearby shop to purchase a cigarette, lit it and returned to the vehicle and sat down.

Shortly after, however, a man approached the car, pulled out a gun and started shooting. He then went to the front passenger side and continued to firing, hitting Duke several times. Joseph sped off and went directly to the Arouca station.

Officers at the Arouca station took Duke to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

A close friend of Duke’s mother who did not want to be identified, yesterday said she was a single parent and did all that she could have done to keep her children out of danger. The friend said she thought her son would have been safe with her during her job hunt.

Duke’s mother lost her father to gunmen in December 2017 when he was shot dead as he went to throw away garbage.

“Since then, Duke’s mother has been facing hardship as her father was the apple of her eye and her backbone…her prayer ever since was for the Lord to just comfort her sons,” the friend said.

—Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant