Mornings on the Lady Chancellor Hill in Port-of-Spain are typically full of joggers and sunlight but yesterday, there were undertakers, police officers and a bullet-riddled body.
This after police recovered the body of one of three men who had shot at one of their colleagues hours before, only to see the officer returning fire and fatally wounding two of his alleged attackers on Wednesday night.
According to a police report, around 7.15 pm on Wednesday, a 33-year-old police constable was walking along Lady Chancellor Road with his girlfriend when he saw a gold-coloured Nissan Almera, licensed PBZ 2192, parked on the southern side of the roadway with three male occupants of African descent.
One of the men came out of the car, pulled out a firearm and began shooting at the officer. The officer in turn drew his licensed firearm and fired several shots in the direction of his attacker and the vehicle. Police said the driver was hit but the other two occupants ran into some nearby bushes and escaped.
Members of the Port-of-Spain Task Force under the supervision of Sgt Alexander responded and later took the injured driver to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
He was later identified as Franklyn Defreitas, of Rich Plain Diego Martin. Defreitas, a father of two, celebrated his 35th birthday on Wednesday.
The second dead suspect, whose body was found by PoSTF officers around 11 am yesterday, is yet to be identified. The third suspect remained under police guard at hospital last night.
The scene was also visited by ASP Bhagwandeen, acting Insp Hospedales Yearwood.
The vehicle was also seized by officers and sent for processing.
Investigators believe the incident was an attempt on the officer’s life.
Investigations are continuing.
When Guardian Media visited the scene later yesterday, scores of joggers and walkers were out along the popular exercising venue despite what took place the night before. They were all aware of what took place but insisted it wouldn’t stop them from continuing to exercise at the venue.
“No, cause if you are doing that, you might as well lock up yourself in the house…It’s Trinidad and Tobago, you know where you living. Acts of violence and crime are in the norm,” a jogger who only identified herself as Natasha said.
A couple who identified themselves as the Lalsinghs said they had been walking on the hill for the past 35 years but only did so during the day because they did not feel safe doing so at night. They added, however, that they will likely return to exercising in groups.
“It’s very sad. It’s sad because they don’t usually have these things here, and I think it’s a little bit unsafe now,” Mrs Lalsingh said, shaking her head.
A third jogger, Jenna, said she would also return to the area but admitted she does not feel safe as a woman in Trinidad and Tobago and hasn’t for a while.
“I do feel unsafe a lot. I always have because this is not a new thing, but I just try to be careful,” Jenna said.