2 children shot as target flees gunmen in Morvant

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A worried Marcia Burke, mother of eight-year-old Javan Price, who is in critical condition at hospital after being shot in the head, speaks with Newsday at her Mon Repos, Morvant, home on Wednesday. – SUREASH CHOLAI

MERCILESS gunmen who killed a 49-year-old father of five in Morvant on Tuesday night, did not think twice about shooting into a crowd of children as they chased after a second target. They shot two of the children in the process.

Police reported that at about 7 pm, gunmen jumped out of a grey Nissan AD wagon at Mon Repos and opened fire hitting Eusibio Roberts, killing him instantly.

The men then chased after a 38-year-old man who ran through the basketball court where the children were training for a football competition in the area.

While running, the man kept shooting, hitting eight-year-old Javan Price in the head and another child, an 11-year-old boy, in the leg. The children were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where Price is in critical condition and the other child listed in a stable condition.

Newsday visited the area twice on Wednesday, the first time around midday and the second after 6 pm.

During the first visit, police were handing out flyers and encouraging residents to come forward with information.

Relatives of the child who was shot in the leg spoke with the media saying they were upset over the disregard for the children. An uncle, who did not want to be identified, said: “Is youths you know, how you want us to feel? Right now the youths and them traumatised. They don’t know who really to trust again.”

He called on the community to “bring back the love” adding that he hopes increased police patrols will yield the results intended. But he said parents need to be given attention if crime is to be addressed.

Nearby, relatives of Roberts, a patient attendant at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital, said they were too distraught to speak.

CRITICAL: Javan Price. –

Price’s mother Marcia Burke, during Newsday’s second visit, also called for a return of the love in the area. She was also angered that the presence of the children did not deter the killers.

“They don’t care. They know children always at the court playing. They should have better sense than that. I mad, really mad. Is children!

The 43-year-old mother of two said she repeatedly warned her sons about playing in the park because of past shootings, which she said had “cooled down.” She said the warning became a daily habit, but her sons loved football and always disobeyed to play a game or two.

“That is a place to do basketball, football, so they thinking there is a place to go and enjoy themselves. They not thinking about nothing bad, they thinking about fun.”

She said, prior to the killing Roberts bought snacks and other things for the children. Residents said Roberts would normally train the children in basketball and football.

“I feeling real hurt. I just want my Javan to come back and be good. I never experienced this growing up here. This is just ridiculous.

“I see Javan on the ground, and I could not believe it. It looked like he was out of it already. I could not even go to the hospital with them. If you see blood! It was real painful to see my child on the ground.”

Burke said she will be praying for her son’s healing. She added that Javan brought all the children in the community together and they flocked to her yard because he was a favourite.

“When I got home from work I was mad because I didn’t see Javan, but I was not feeling well. I was watching television and I hear the shots. I look through my window and see children running. My big son come and say, ‘Mammy, Javan out the road.’ I will never forget that.”

The standard two student of Morvant Anglican collapsed near a track leading to his home, his mother said.

Tuesday night’s incident is the second recent shooting in which a child was wounded. On August 1, a ten-year-old girl was among eight people shot during a shootout at Sixth Avenue, Malick. The bullet hit her left leg breaking a bone. She has since been discharged from hospital.