Baby survives stray bullet, El Socorro neighbourhood traumatised

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Jose Nunez –

A one-year-old is now the county’s latest shooting victim and the incident has left more than the family traumatised.

According to relatives, around 9.50 pm on Monday, 20-month-old Jose Nunez was outside the family’s Lootoo Street, El Socorro, apartment playing with two other children, aged nine and three. His mother, Enyerwi Nunez, 26, told investigators she was in the kitchen when she heard several gunshots and found her son lying in a pool of blood.

Nunez was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex for treatment. He is currently stable.

After examination, doctors noted there appeared to be one entry hole through his left thigh exiting the left buttock near the anus and one entering the right buttock near the anus and exiting through the right thigh.

CID investigators later received reports that around the time of the incident, an unknown man in dark clothing entered Lootoo Street through a track from Boundary Road, El Socorro, pointed an object in the air, fired a number of shots and ran back through the track to escape.

Four spent shells were discovered at the scene.

Luis Enrique Hernandez shows the pants his son Jose Nunez was wearing when he was shot in his legs and buttocks at their Lootoo Street, El Socorro, home on Monday night. – Ayanna Kinsale

Evidence of the incident could be found from as far away as the entrance to the roughly 30-foot alley leading up to the apartment. There was a hole in one of the posts, with a piece of concrete about two and a half inches in diameter missing.

At the apartment, water could be seen leaking in a slow stream at the bottom of one of the water tanks near where the incident occurred. The child’s father, Luis Enrique Hernandez, 21, said that was where a bullet came to rest after it exited his son.

Holding the blood-soaked shorts his son was wearing at the time, now punctuated with bullet holes, he told Newsday the family was shaken and angry.

Speaking through a translator, Hernandez’s mother told Newsday she did not believe the family was the intended target of any attack and Nunez was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She was worried about how the family could afford to take care of the toddler when he was discharged from the hospital, with her husband the only employed person in the family.

Luis Enrique Hernandez points to the bullet hole in a water tank at his home on Tuesday after his 20-month-old son Jose Nunez was shot on Monday night. – Ayanna Kinsale

In December, 18-month-old Nova Bereton and her mother were gunned down and killed in what was believed to be a hit aimed at her father.

A month later, in January, Kylie Maloney of Foster Road, Sangre Grande died at hospital after she was shot during a home invasion. While the police’s website does not show a breakdown by age, its statistics show 400 shootings and woundings were recorded for the year up to August.

On Tuesday, residents of  El Socorro said it was the first time a child had been the victim of a shooting in their neighbourhood.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous over fears for her safety, told Newsday she was now worried for all the children who frequently walked the streets of the area, including hers.

“That’s very sad. That’s a little baby. I have kids too. That could have been mine.”

The mother of three said she was saddened the community had declined to such a state, and believed the police could have done more to ensure their safety.

An elder in the community, Naz “Charlie” Shamshoodeen, 68, said he had grandsons who lived in the area and walked to the nearby school. Worrying about their safety, he shuddered at the thought of their falling victim to a similar fate.

“If anything happens to my children or grandchildren, I going to kill people. I telling you the truth.”