Killed in suspected gang violence - 15-year-old Antoino Francois (right) of Seals Avenue, Laventille, and 15-year-old Semion Daniel (left) of J Alter Garcia Trace, Siparia. (Images courtesy Children’s Authority)
RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

Preliminary investigations have revealed that two of the teenagers who recently escaped from a safe house belonging to the Children’s Authority, and who were killed on Sunday night, may have been caught in the crossfire of gang violence.

The deceased teens have been identified as 15-year-old Antoino Francois of #315 Seals Avenue, Laventille, and 15-year-old Semion Daniel of #80 J Alter Garcia Trace, Siparia.

The Police Service says at about 7:10 pm on Sunday, the Command Centre received a report stating that several gunshots were heard in the vicinity of LP#27 Mc Shine Lands, Laventille, Port of Spain.

Upon arriving at that location, first responders met a resident who pointed them in the direction of an abandoned house, informing them that something had happened there a short while before. 

The police officers checked the premises and discovered the motionless bodies of two young boys, lying on a roof top, which was the same level with the roadway.

According to a police report, Antonio Francois was found lying on his back; his bore several gunshot wounds.  Semion Daniel was found lying on his right side, his body also bore several gunshot wounds. 

The District Medical Officer visited the scene, viewed the bodies, made the requisite pronouncements, and ordered their removal, pending postmortem examinations at the Forensic Science Centre.

Further investigations revealed that the teen boys were in company with other people at the property located at LP#27 Mc Shine Lands, Laventille, when they were ambushed by two armed men.  The gunmen reportedly were dressed in police uniform.  

Guardian Media understands that as the group attempted to disperse, the gunmen chased both Francois and Daniel, several loud explosions were heard, and their bodies subsequently discovered.  Two other boys, ages 14 and 15 years, who also were injured in the shooting incident, were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope for medical treatment.

Further enquiries revealed that both deceased teens had escaped from the Children’s Authority Child Support Centre on March 19th. 

Police said the dead teens were positively identified by another of the escaped teens—15-year-old Stephen Antoine.

Antoine subsequently was taken to the Homicide Region One Office, together with a guardian for safe keeping.