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Escapee Ricardo Thompson

OTTO CARRINGTON

One of the teenage Children’s Authority centre escapees who escaped an ambush where two other escapees were killed in Laventille on Sunday night, yesterday paid tribute to his fallen friends.

Ricardo Thompson, who had previously taken to social media to claim abuse at the home was the reason for their escape, again took to the platform yesterday to celebrate the lives of his friends – Simeon Daniel and Antoine Francois, both 15.

Thompson wrote: “I just want to thank you for always being there Francois and Daniel for no matter what, you all were like a big brother to me when I am sad you will come and harass me till I laugh you made me feel welcomed and you never once criticise me about my sexuality, rest in peace love you with my heart. Two boys I could have depended on now you are gone you all put tears in my eyes today writing this right now I am crying I love you, Semion.”

Days before and following the escape of the five teenagers, Thompson had also taken to social media to give the reason why they fled the centre.

“I am Ricardo Thompson, well I was placed in a boys’ home and it was normal the first time but the second time it was worst than the first,” he said.

Thompson alleged they were given meals late, that his sexuality was attacked and that the guards at the home abused them.

Meanwhile, police yesterday said gang warfare among rival groups in Laventille was suspected to be the motive behind Sunday’s murder of Francois and Daniel. Over 100 bullet shells were recovered at the scene and bullet holes covered most of the walls of the abandoned house where they were killed. Three other persons were with the two teens, including another escapee who was detained, during the attack.

In a Trinidad and Tobago Police Service media release, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations and Intelligence) Mc Donald Jacob said Homicide Bureau officers were intensifying their investigations into the killings. He said they had received vital information but noted the probe was at a sensitive stage.

Around 7.10 pm on Sunday, police officers responded to a report of several loud explosions heard in Mc Shine Lands, Laventille, Port-of-Spain. On arrival, the police officers met an informant who pointed out an abandoned house. The police officers made checks and discovered two bodies on a rooftop, which was the same level as the roadway. The victims were later identified as Francois and Daniel, who had escaped from a Children’s Authority support centre.

Investigators said Francois and Daniel were in the company of other persons at the house when they were accosted by two armed men, who reportedly wore clothing resembling that of the police with the word ‘Police’ marked on their backs. The young men tried to escape but the assailants pursued Francois and Daniel, following which several loud explosions were heard.

Two brothers shot and wounded during the attack were subsequently taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for treatment. A third escapee who was not injured was taken into protective custody.