4 dead in highway shooting

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police cordoned of parts of Spring Village yesterday after gunmen ran through the community, killing three men and one resident.
– Photo by Angelo Marcelle

A Spring Village woman who looked out of her window when she heard gunshots on Wednesday afternoon became the fourth victim in a brazen daylight killing spree that started on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway and spilt into the nearby community.

Businesswoman Lana Sahadeo was struck by a stray bullet and later died. Three men were also killed. Police have not yet confirmed the men’s identities.

CCTV footage from a business place along the highway shows a white Nissan wagon veer off the road and crash into the compound of Steve’s Air-Conditioning and Sales Services at around 2.20 pm.

Crime scene investigators block off the westbound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway near the St Augustine Girls’ High School, where three men were killed. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Several men, including Trinibad artiste Kashif “Kman 6ixx” Alexander, ran out of the wagon in different directions.

Alexander, known for songs such as No Lethal, survived.

As the occupants fled, another car stopped on the shoulder of the highway and four gunmen got out.

One stopped near the crashed car and shot a man who was trapped inside. Other gunmen ran back to the waiting vehicle and left.

Other videos from homes and business places in the community showed the gunmen following the surviving passengers, shooting at them as they ran. They chased their victims through residents’ yards, with one video showing a man standing on top of a dog kennel. Another showed a man climbing over a wall to escape the gunmen.

CCTV from another home showed one of the gunmen running after a man, then stopping to get into a black vehicle along the shoulder.

A video recorded by a bystander after the incident showed Alexander crying as one of his friends lay dead on the westbound lane of the highway as police tried to secure the area.

When Newsday arrived, police were out in their numbers cordoning off the westbound lane of the highway.

One victim, dressed in three-quarter jeans and a white vest, lay dead in the middle of the highway as residents and commuters travelling east looked on. Another man lay in a pool of blood in a street running parallel to the highway and the third victim’s body remained in the car.

Police also restricted access to the walkover and stopped people who did not live at Spring Village Road from entering the street.

In a phone interview, a police source told Newsday the killings were gang-related, saying it was a never-ending cycle. Newsday also contacted police PRO Joanne Archie, who said she was waiting for a report before she would release a statement.

With the westbound lane closed to traffic while police processed the scene for evidence, the Ministry of Works and Transport opened the Priority Bus Route from 5-8 pm to ease the traffic.

Contacted for comment, St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen said she was disturbed by the shooting, saying it took the life of a cherished resident of the community and a remarkable businesswoman, Lana Sahadeo. Ameen described her as a kind, hardworking woman loved by all.

She said a few months ago, residents formed a village watch group because of an increase in robberies, the community mounted cameras and began fostering communication with police, who started increasing patrols in the neighbourhood.

“There was some small improvement, but it was because of the vigilance of the residents: they discouraged criminals,” Ameen said.

But she said despite residents’ efforts, they could not protect themselves.

“Crime is not a localised issue. It is a national issue. And the government really has to get serious about getting the guns off the street and reducing the number of murders and violent crimes.”

She said she remained in shock over Sahadeo’s death.

Ameen praised the success of Sahadeo’s Silver Spoon restaurant on the Southern Main Road, reiterating her strong work ethic.

“This is not something that anybody could have foreseen. Innocent citizens are just sitting ducks.

“She had that business for many years. She woke up early every morning to make an honest dollar.”

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Ameen said she was horrified that this incident, which did not involve any Spring Village residents, had resulted in the death of an innocent woman.

She expressed condolences to the family and called on the Minister of National Security to do more to reduce crime and murders.

These killings brought the murder toll to 567.

This story was originally published with the headline Four killed in highway shooting, and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

Four people are dead after a brazen daytime shooting near Spring Village, Valsayn, on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway on Wednesday.

CCTV videos shared on social media show at least three men armed with guns pursuing three men, who ran after a white wagon crashed into a shipping container off the highway.

One of the gunmen shot at the driver who was pinned in the car.

Private security officers of SWAT, who were first on the scene, cordoned off two lanes of the highway before police arrived. The body of a victim was on the highway and a third man was chased and killed outside a house in Spring Village.

Early reports suggest an innocent woman was killed by a stray bullet.

Crime Scene Investigators collect evidence on the west bound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway after yesterday’s brazen daylight killing spree. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

The car that four people were travelling in when they were attacked by gunmen along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway close to the St Augustine Girls High School yesterday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle