Dad of slain security officer wants justice, lacks faith in system

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Moses Gibbons, father of Jerry “Bat” Stewart speaks to Newsday on Tuesday. – ROGER JACOB

The father of one of two security officers who died in the line of duty in La Romaine on Monday evening wants the suspects to feel the full brunt of the law.

But Moses Gibbons, 70, has little faith in the judicial system. He said many perpetrators are not charged, and even when the police charge them, they later walk free.

His son Jerry “Bat” Stuart, 49, who worked with Allied Security Ltd, was shot and killed outside Pennywise Plaza on La Bel Air Road in a heist.

The police later killed four suspects in a shootout and arrested three people. Stuart’s co-worker Jeffrey Peters, 51, was also killed. A third colleague, Peola Baptiste, 57, was shot and remained hospitalised, up to Tuesday afternoon.

Stuart, of Longdenville in Chaguanas, was the father of two adult children.

Gibbons recalled that people began telling the family about the shooting on Monday. One of his grandsons went to the company’s office in Montrose.

“He went to find out if it was true, and they told him it was. At around 8 am today, someone from the HR department came and spoke with relatives,” Gibbons said.

“My son left home before 8 am yesterday to go to the office in Montrose. Everything was normal,” Gibbons told Newsday at his home.

Stuart lived across the street.

Gibbons recalled that in 2007, Stuart’s brother Steve Stuart was killed in a drive-by shooting in the area. He said Steve was among a group of men liming at the roadside near the family’s home when gunmen opened fire.

No one was ever held in connection with the incident. A suspect was killed sometime later in a police-involved shooting.

“Steve was in his 30s. Bat is the second child I lost. Bat’s daughter lives in the US, and his son is here in Trinidad. He was a cool person. He also worked with the union (Estate Management Association.”