Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers
ACTING Police Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob says while there has been an increase in the number of killings due to domestic disputes and simple altercations, gang-related and drug-related murders continue to be the dominant types of murders in TT.
Speaking to Newsday on Sunday, following another weekend of murders, Jacob said two were gang-related, one was a robbery gone sour, one was revenge, and the motive for the one had not yet been determined.
“Gang-related killings has always been the dominant murder we’ve had. Gang-related murders and revenge have been the dominating factor over the period. We just saw we were getting an escalation in the amount of simple altercations and domestics since the year opened, but we never said gang-related stopped. “Like the other day when we had 15 murders over that holiday weekend, we had seven that were domestic and altercations related, and the others were drug and gang combined, but what we said there was an increase in the number of altercations.
“Around 30 per cent of our murders per year are related to domestic violence and simple altercations, which would amount to approximately 130 murders for the year, and we have been neglecting dealing with that aspect.
“So we are asking while the police are dealing with the hardcore murders like the gang and drugs-related ones, that other agencies, which have the ability to do conflict resolution, help us handle that part so we could reduce that part of the murders.”
Jacob said gang-related murders can be split into categories such as revenge, fighting for turf, and people getting back at others in the gang, among others.
He said the police had put various projects into place to deal with non-gang-related conflicts.
“We’ve talked about different projects that we’ve put in place like the Conflict Resolution Centre in St Joseph, the lawyers who came forward to assist us in going into communities to alert people on how to deal with land and property disputes that sometimes lead to murder, and we’re looking at other faith-based organisations to come on board, but not to deal with the hardcore murders we are handling that.
“Conflict resolution is part of solving the problem and the other part of the problem is gangs and dealing with the young people to ensure they are not recruited into gangs.”
The two killings on the weekend said to be gang-related involved the brazen 10 am shooting of Ian “Thin Man” Stanley of Rich Plain Road, Diego Martin, shoe body was riddled with bullets in a drive-by shooting on Wrightson Road on Saturday and that of Sheldon Coutain, aka Cocky, later that day.
Reports said at about 6.30 pm, Coutain, 39, of Rifle Hill, Belmont, was shot and killed while driving along Picton Street, Newtown, Port of Spain.
Also killed on Saturday, at about 3.25 am, was Jillian Lewis, 45, who was shot at her home in Petit Bourg, two days after her son was also killed by gunmen.
At 4 am on Saturday, Dillon Straughn, 23, of Carapichaima, was allegedly stealing copper wire at Temple Street, Waterloo, when a man with a shotgun approached and shot him.
Later on Saturday, Damien Pierre, 40, from Pleasantville; Daniel Johnson, 57, of Whiteland, who was reportedly killed in a home invasion; and Venezuelan national Joel Fernandez at Mc Bean Village, Couva, were also the latest homicide victims in separate incidents.