Police officers on the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, Couva after the shootout between police and bandits, yesterday.

Police are still searching for the suspect who evaded them on Monday during a brazen shootout along the Solomon Hochoy Highway.

The drama unfolded amid afternoon traffic, leaving motorists and passengers traumatised.

Speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, the head of the Highway and Traffic Patrol Unit, Senior Superintendent Wayne Mystar, said, “It was nothing strange. Police officers often find themselves engaged in activities as what happened on Monday and I want to commend the officers for being there at that particular time to actually intercept that vehicle that was taken away at gunpoint”.

Around 3:45 pm on Monday, police intercepted a stolen vehicle on the highway when its occupants attempted to escape and fired shots at the officers.

They returned fire, killing one of the suspects while the other suspect ran into a nearby bushy area in the vicinity of the Couva Medical and Multi-Training facility.

Mystar said police are still searching for the suspect.

“Some people stopped and they were videotaping. Remember, police officers are trained as it relates to the use of force policy. We look at certain things in an exchange of gunfire like the backdrops and so on, however, criminals don’t observe those and fire indiscriminately,” Mystar warned.

He advises citizens to continue driving, once traffic is not obstructed.

But, what should you do if you’re in traffic and a shootout ensues?

According to Law Enforcement and Combat Consultant, Paul-Daniel Nahous, “What I would recommend is to get in the crouched position as much as you can, wind up the window understanding that a car door doesn’t cover against a modern projectile. A car door is merely concealment however, in that position you are making yourself a smaller target.”

However, if an officer approaches your vehicle window in an active shootout, he said it’s important to know what to do.

He suggested, “You need to do is show them that there is nothing in your hands and what I recommend people do whether it be in a shooting situation or a regular traffic stop is put your hands in the 10 and two position and put them higher even to show the officers that your hands are there then it’s communication.”

“Anytime your hands are hidden, that will be seen as a threat to the officer so step one is you show them your hands, comply with all legal instructions given to you until the scenario plays out,” Nahous explained.

He reminded citizens that police officers also have the right to protect themselves.

“Remember if you’re an officer and looking on from the outside, the police officer has a family as well and with all the training and all the equipment you still have to safeguard your life as an officer,” he said.

If a shooting takes place while you’re in a public space, Nahous suggested running into a nearby building and alerting others of the incident.

“If there is nowhere accessible for you to go in for whatever reason you should go anywhere where you’ll get cover,” he added.

Senior Superintendent Mystar said while officers cannot predict when a crime will happen, they will continue to maintain a high presence to deter criminals.

“There will be a strong presence in and about by all the divisions on the highways so when you see us do not complain. Sometimes you say you’re not seeing officers but now you’re going to be seeing them in full force,” Mystar assured.