Brothers shot dead at Tunapuna cemetery

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police search for clues at the Tunapuna public cemetery the scene of a double murder on Saturday. – ROGER JACOB

Two brothers were shot dead in broad daylight at the Tunapuna public cemetery on Saturday while a third man was shot in the leg.

According to reports, the incident took place around 10.30 am, when a man wearing a hoodie got out a car with two other men near the entrance of the cemetery, officially known as the Streatham Lodge Cemetery, and shot Nirmal Rambaran, 18, in the head. The victim’s older brother, Elvis Hernandez, 28, was shot in the back as he tried to run away.

Both men died at the scene taking the murder tally to 501.

A third man, identified only as Max, was shot in the leg and taken for treatment at hospital.

At the scene, the boys father, Lalsingh Rambaran, stood outside the cemetery gate crying and upset as he tried to get a glimpse of the bodies of his two sons.

Reports said the two bothers had just finished cleaning graves and were sitting on a stone sharing the payment before the shooting.

When Sunday Newsday arrived at the scene around noon, an unmarked police vehicle and caution tape blocked the road to the cemetery.

The boys’ parents, Rambaran and Yvette Rambaran, were craning their necks attempting to see through the closed gates, or over the wall. They were also asking the police and crime scene technicians if they could see their children, but were told it would not be possible.

“That’s my two sons they kill. They not no bad boys. This country gone though. They killing families. Look my son lying down there like a dog and they don’t want me see my children,” the father said.

He said he learned of their deaths when a friend came to their home at nearby Prescott Lane, Tunapuna and related the incident.

Rambaran said he worked very hard to take care of his eight children, humbling himself in front of others, yet his sons were killed and there was nothing he could do. He said the police were only “mopping up” after crimes were committed instead of preventing it.

His wife, who seemed to be in shock, said the boys were not ones to “knock about.” She said, Nirmal “grew up by the cemetery” as their father used to clean the graves before he “passed it on” to his sons.

She said Nirmal had just finished secondary school and was waiting to get his national ID so he could sign up for the Military-Led Academic Training Programme. And Hernandez worked with a crew cutting trees and branches obstructing power, cable and phone lines.

“Not one day ever I had to go in school for him (Nirmal). And although he didn’t have the brain for books, he was ambitious and would hustle to make some money and buy things to sell in the market.”

A neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, said the two were “normal boys” who kept busy and, to his knowledge, stayed out of trouble.

“Their father really tried with them. They were pretty well disciplined. They tell their father all their movements.”

He said they and some of their other siblings, would visit his home and ask to pick mangoes or coconut or green fig to sell, and he was happy to share because it was better for them to hustle that to get involved in criminal activity.