Children among 7 shot at Sangre Grande wake

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A lighted flambeau is placed on bloodstains in the yard of a house in Sangre Grande where seven people were shot and wounded while attending a wake on Wednesday night. PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI –

TWO children, aged three and six, were among seven people shot and wounded on Wednesday night as they were attending the wake in Sangre Grande, for a man who was killed by police last week.

Relatives of a man who was killed last week, were lamenting on Thursday that they could not even meet and grieve in peace.

Police said the relatives and friends of Ronnel Alexander were at the family’s home at Blake Avenue, Damarie Hill, at around 10.30 pm, when a car drove up to the house.

Police said a man wearing a hoodie got out of the car with an assault rifle and shot at the mourners who were sitting in the gallery.

The two boys and five adults were shot in the attack. Investigators said one of the adults was 60. Passers-by took the wounded to hospital, where they remained up to Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday, Newsday visited the house where the shooting happened and spoke with several people who said they were part of the group of mourners attending the wake. They said they were still shaken by the violence.

RIDDLED: A man points the bullet holes in a car which was shot as a gunman fired on mourners at a wake in Sangre Grande on Wednesday night. PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI –

A man, who asked not to to be named, likened the gun attack to a horror movie as he said the shooting happened without warning. He questioned why a gunman would want to target people at wake.

“These were innocent people who came to visit, lime and reminisce. Children were at the wake and just so bullets started to fly.

“I still surprised this didn’t end up being a multiple murder. People were screaming and diving for cover to protect their children. It was like a horror movie,” the man said.

The man said when the shooting started, he thought it was fireworks being set off.

A woman who said she too was at the wake, said a bullet struck close to where she was sitting. The woman knocked criminals for not having any regard even for children as she added that the gunman fired indiscriminately at the mourners.

Newsday was told that following the shooting incident, Alexander’s family are considering a quick burial instead of a funeral service at a Church, as they are fearing that service could also be targeted by gunmen.

“I don’t feel safe here. I’m just feeling to sell (my property) and move out of this area. I’m frightened to even keep a funeral now because you don’t know if they will come to the funeral and shoot it up too,” said a relative of Alexander.

“I have to get somewhere to go, I can’t stay here, my mother is shaken, she is elderly and she has a heart problem next thing they come to do something again.”

Newsday was told that one of the boys wounded in the shooting, underwent emergency surgery on Thursday because bullets has shattered the bone in his leg in two places.

One of the mourners, who was grazed by a bullet, said while he does not live in Sangre Grande, he too is concerned for his safety and may not return to the area.

Eastern Division police said while no one suffered life-threatening injuries in the shooting, they vowed to thoroughly investigate and follow all possible leads.

“We intend to communicate with the family and see how best we can introduce more patrols in and around the area to prevent further bloodshed. It’s not something we are going to take lightly,” a senior police source said.

Sangre Grande CID officers are continuing enquiries.