Boy, 11, killed, contractor injured in drive-by, 2 gunmen held

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police and army officers secure the scene where a boy, 11, was shot dead during a drive-by at Laventille Road, East Dry Rver, Port of Spain, on Thursday. – Angelo Marcelle

An 11-year-old boy is dead after a shooting in East Dry River, Port of Spain.

Ezequiel Huggins was shot dead in Mapp Trace, Laventille when a group of men opened fire on a car on Laventille Road.

Reports say around 4.50 pm, 39-year-old contractor Ahkel Fairbin was on his way home after picking up his 15-year-old daughter from school.

Fairbin’s relatives say it appeared the gunmen were familiar with his daily routine as they followed him in his red Kia Rio from the bottom of Laventille Road.

They waited until he pulled aside near Rudolph Charles Link Road and overtook his car and began spraying the car with bullets.

Fairbin’s daughter ran out of the car and was not injured.

When the smoke cleared, Fairbin was found nursing gunshot injuries while Huggins, who was standing nearby when the shooting began, was found lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head.

Fairbin’s relatives took him to the hospital in the bullet-riddled car while police transported Huggins to the Port of Spain General Hospital.

Huggins was pronounced dead at the hospital while Fairbin remains warded in stable condition.

Huggins’ parents, who were unaware of what took place, were informed by neighbours when they arrived home and they immediately went to the hospital.

More than a dozen spent shells were found at the scene including several high-powered rifle bullet casings.

Police responded within minutes of the shooting and, acting on information, were able to detain two suspects in connection with the incident.

The men were held in a silver Toyota NZE in Block 22, Laventille and were taken to a nearby police station to be questioned.

One of Fairbin’s relatives said they were at a loss as to why he was targeted.

The relative said, apart from being a contractor, Fairbin also played football and had not received any threats recently.

“It’s a case of wrong place, wrong time I believe,” said his relative.

The shooting took places metres away from a wall with the phrase “Fully 6” spray-painted on it in silver.

Councillor for St Ann’s River North Alicia Gift said she tried to visit Huggins’ family but was unable to as the area was still cordoned off by police.

Gift said she had no information about the facts of the incident but added, “It’s a sad situation that we have to be dealing with such things in our community.”

Asked about the “Fully 6” graffiti and the presence of gangs in the area, Gift lamented the situation which she said was not isolated to her community.

“It’s an unfortunate situation. Not just in my community, but in all the communities that have been affected and continue to be affected. It’s a very sad situation.”

Newsday tried to get residents’ thoughts on the shooting but they were hesitant to speak with the media.

One woman, who initially refused to speak, said, “We scared because it’s a child.”

“I have a 10-year-old so you know how I feeling. My belly hurting,” she said as she walked away.

Another resident said he believed the incident could possibly trigger a gang war in the area.

Asked about reprisal killings he said, “It’s not no big maths to think about. You done know it’s a tit for tat.”

Another man spoke as he was packing his belongings in his car and said he was leaving the area “for a little bit.”

The man, who operates a small business nearby said the area had been quiet for some time and he was surprised when he heard the gunshots.

He said while there had been shootings in the area in the past, it had calmed down recently.

However, he said he was not going to take any chances with his life and planned to get out of the area until things calmed down again.