Ex-cop’s son among three killed in south Trinidad

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Shermine Caesar, at her home at Ridgewoods Gardens, Golconda,
grieves for her murdered son
Kellon Benjamin on Saturday.
PHOTO BY Yvonne Webb

THE agonising cries of a mother pierced the quiet community of Ridgewood Gardens, Golconda early on Saturday, hours after her son was murdered at Caribbean Vibes bar at Marabella.

Shermine Caesar, a retired police officer, sat at the entrance to her home in tears and disbelief, knowing her son, Kellon “Fish” Benjamin, 34, was never coming back home.

In contrast, one of Benjamin’s two children, a seven-year-old girl, sat looking on as her grandmother contended that “she had to get it off her chest.”“It has not sunk in as yet for her. Her birthday is on May 1 and she keeps saying that her daddy has gone to the doctor and he will return to celebrate her birthday with her,” Caesar said.

She said her 13-year-old grandson has been lying in his bed, not talking to anyone, after hearing the tragic news of his father’s death. She said Kellon’s father, Cecil Benjamin, who was a drug addict, was murdered in Port of Spain in 2005.

“Now Kellon meet the same fate. Oh God, Kellon gone?

“I warned him not to go to that bar, that bar is a bar of death, but he liked cards and liked to gamble and liked that kind of life.”

In 2017, three men were shot to death after gunmen stormed the bar and began shooting.

Benjamin was one of three men killed in south Trinidad between Friday night and Saturday morning. The other two victims have been identified as Tyrell Kareem, 40, of Morne Diablo, and Darren Young, also known as “Porky,” of Colley Street, Fyzabad. All three men were shot to death.

Saying she was tired of the escalating crime, Caesar pleaded with “African males,” who she said were in the majority when it came to gun violence, to put down the guns after one of them ended the life of her only son.

“It hurts so badly. Face reality, is mainly African males killing one another,” she observed, pointing out that the ripple effect of these murders was devastating to families. “When you all kill one another, you leave the parents in turmoil. You leave us grieving.”It hurts. It hurts every part of your body.”

Kellon Benjamin

She said her son was no “goody-goody boy,” but he had changed his ways over the last six years and was devoted to his children.

“I not covering for no child. He do all kinds of things. He gave a lot of trouble, plenty trouble. “He did a lot of bad things. I speak to him. I take plenty bail and all them things.”I told him I’m done with that, and he was walking right for six years because he loved his children …but the friends he was keeping,” she lamented.

She said only on Friday he took his daughter for training at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium as she had qualified for the zonal finals for her school.

She said she had no idea whether his death was symbolic of his past transgressions finally catching up with him. Police said they had no motive for the killing.

She recalled around midnight on Friday, Benjamin came home, changed his clothes, and headed out with friends to lime at the bar. She did not know that was the last time she would see or talk to him. Around 4.22 am, she said, she received a call from a friend who said her son had been shot.

“I asked if he was dead, and she said she did not know. I called the police and they asked if that was my son. They said he was still breathing, but a short while later they called and said he passed.”Caesar said she rushed down to the bar, where she saw her son lying dead in a pool of blood, with a gunshot wound to the chest.

“Plenty of shots were fired from an automatic weapon, but that was the wound I saw.”

Police recovered 13 spent 9mm shells, two fragments and four projectiles from the scene. According to a report, around 4.14 am on April 6, PC’s Subero and Gomes of the Marabella Police Station, were on patrol when they were alerted to the shooting at Caribbean Vibes bar on Southern Main Road, Marabella. They saw Benjamin lying on his back near the entrance to the bar. He had no vital signs.

The area was cordoned off before District Medical Officer DMO) Dr Santlal visited the scene, and declared him dead. His body was ordered removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for a post-mortem on Monday.

Caesar said while she had confidence in the police to find her son’s killer, she was placing her trust in God for justice.

“I have faith in God.”

PC Mathura is continuing investigations.