An early morning police-involved shooting in Santa Cruz yesterday ignited fiery protests and blockage of roadways in the village by residents.
The residents of Blackford Street, Cantaro Village, Santa Cruz, said they are angry and upset over the killing of Shakeel Jameel Charles also known as “Cookie.”
Police reported that at about 3 am, a party of officers from the North Eastern Division Task Force, went to Charles’ home. They said he is a known offender with a history of violence, as well as 11 charges for narcotics and firearm-related offences.
There was also a warrant for his arrest for other firearm-related offences.
The police, in an official media release issued, said the officers who went to Charles’ residence had a warrant to search the premises, located at Blackford Street, Central Village, Santa Cruz, for arms and ammunition.
On arrival two officers proceeded to the rear of the premises to the area occupied by Charles.
Upon, hearing a noise at the door, the suspect was seen near a toilet area holding a firearm in his right hand.
The officers identified themselves and ordered the suspect to drop the gun. Charles pointed the gun in the direction of the officers, who on seeing the imminent threat to his life, and in keeping with the TTPS use of force policy, discharged four rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition from a service PM5 causing injury to Charles who was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The officers took possession of the suspect’s gun, which upon examination was a Glock pistol fitted with a magazine and 16 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. The scene was processed and photographed by officers of the Crime Scene Unit.
However, residents who took to the streets in protest of his killing, said Charles was shot and killed in front of his mother and girlfriend.
The residents came out before sunrise and began blocking the road at strategic locations in the Santa Cruz area with old tires and other debris which they lighted on fire and protested what they described as an “unjust” and “unwarranted” killing.
The residents claimed that the man had no gun and did not shoot at the officers.
However, police said, the man was known to have firearms and had reports last week that he was seen shooting off different types of guns.
Police said the man was heavily involved in the illegal arms and ammunition trade and was believed to have received a shipment recently and was testing it out in the last several days.
ASP Pariman is continuing enquiries.