By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL
@NateGreyy (on twitter)
Last night (September 25), East Port-of-Spain was transformed into a scene reminiscent of a modern war movie, as the sharp ringing of gunfire was periodically heard in-between the whirling noise of helicopters and orders being barked by heavily armed soldiers and policemen.
The cause of the action?
Unknown groups of heavily armed men reportedly opened fire on the Besson Street Police Station at about 10p.m. last night, shortly after 30-year-old Dillon “Bandy” Skeete was killed by unknown persons.
According to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams during a press briefing held this morning (September 26) at the police administration building, along Edward Street, Port-of-Spain, Skeete was one of three persons who were killed following a shooting incident along Desperlie Crescent, Laventille.
“Last night at about 10p.m. a group of men were located at Desperlie Crescent, Laventille, when a black Nissan Xtrail approached the group and five heavily armed men came out of the vehicle and ordered the men to kneel down. As they did so, the group were then fired upon. Five of the men from that group were injured. Three of them fatally injured. They were all taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital(POSGH), four of them by persons in the area and one by a police patrol which responded.
“At present two persons are at the POSGH receiving treatment under police guard. The three persons who have died are Dillon Skeete alias “Bandy”; Joel Tash and Sherwin Thomas. The T&T Police Service (TTPS) wants to firstly express condolences to the relatives of the deceased, but we also want to give the public the assurance that we will be doing everything possible to solve this crime, this heinous crime, which would have occurred causing a disturbance to the peace which would have been operating in Laventille for several months now,” Williams said.
When this Express reporter visited the scene on Thursday night, police sources explained that they believed that persons close to Skeete assumed that the men who killed the 30-year-old man were police officers, as law enforcement personnel and soldiers were known to use those make of vehicles.
As a result, a short time after the shooting, heavily armed men, said to be wielding semi automatic rifles among other weaponry, visited the Besson Street Police Station situated at the corner of Picadilly Street, Port-of-Spain, and opened fire on the law enforcement office.
This led to an immediate response from the Police Service, who called in assistance from the T&T Defence Force as well other policing units. The combined responses were all coordinated by the National Operations Center(NOC) and within minutes, the area was cordoned off, and heavily armed men and women of the National Security services were on the scene.
Aerial support was summoned by the NOC and helicopters were seen hovering above the police station, with lights focused on the roadways.
Heads of the various divisions in Trinidad and Tobago, including Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Ramsubhag (POS/West) Divisional Commander for Northern Division Senior Superintendent David Abraham, Divisional Commander for Western Division Ishmael David, Superintendent Johnny Abraham (Central), along with Inspector Roger Alexander of the North Eastern Division, among others, were notified of the ongoing situation in Port-of-Spain, and informed to be on standby in the event further assistance was required.
Law enforcement agencies locked down Picadilly Street and repeatedly told reporters that anyone who ventured on the roadway was doing so at their own risk.
In the briefing held this morning, Williams went on to note that he had not received information that the Besson Street Police Station was damaged during the shooting incident.
He also assured reporters that it was his information that police officers were in no way involved in the incident which saw five men shot, and he gave his assurance to the public that the TTPS would do all within its power to find the persons responsible and to ensure that peace was maintained.
“The peace that has been maintained in Laventille for the past few months is the kind of peace that we would want to continue for the rest of the year and we will do everything possible to return to that state which existed prior to yesterday. So the TTPS will work with the Laventille community on a continuous basis to ensure that the peace is maintained,” Williams promised.
Skeete, was a person of interest regarding the murder of 11017 Lance Corporal Kayode Thomas.
Reports are that at approximately 11:30pm, on Sunday, 29 June 2014, Lance Corporal Thomas while off duty was shot and killed near Plaisance Quarry Road, John John while driving his Mazda 323 on his way to visit a relative in the Beverly Hills area.
No one has been officially held in relation to this incident.