Family of highway murder victim: ‘Levi was no gangster’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The car that four people were travelling in when they were attacked by gunmen along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway close to the
St Augustine Girls High School yesterday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

RELATIVES of Levi Criss, one of the men killed in the brazen daylight shooting on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway on Wednesday, said he was not a gang member.

Criss, 31, along with his cousin Damien Criss, Jerry Hollingsworth and local Trinibad music artiste Kashif “Kman 6ixx” Alexander were ambushed by gunmen in an SUV on the westbound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway at around 2.20 pm.

The car veered off the road and crashed. Criss was pinned in the driver’s seat while the other occupants fled.

CCTV footage showed one gunman shooting Criss while the others chased after the remaining occupants who fled.

Damien Criss and Hollingsworth were also eventually shot dead and Alexander was the only one to escape with his life.

Speaking with the media amid a heavy police presence at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, Criss’ family said he was a hard-working man who never got caught up in the “gang life.”

They said the National Flour Mills (NFM) employee was supposed to go to work on Wednesday but was given a private taxi-for-hire job by his cousin, Damien Criss, to pick him up from the airport along with Alexander and Hollingsworth.

The father of four children, aged three, four, nine and 12, took the job because of his cousin.

“We now had a boxing night pyjamas lime. It was about 18 of us. Levi had to go to work in the evening. Why he take that job? He could have just gone to work. What they call him for?” one relative asked.

She recalled the last conversation she had with him saying, “He said he coming back and that he going to pick them up. He never reach back.”

She described him as cool, fun, jolly and straightforward.

“He was always about his family. Everything is about his children.”

Another relative said, “Levi is not no gunman. No police ever come and knock down my door, not one day in my life.

“You could walk up the road in the area and ask anybody. Everybody know Levi not in that. Yes, you living in the area, and you will talk to this gunman but to say riding, Levi don’t ride with them.”

They criticised those who assumed he was part of a gang because of where he lived and who he was in the car with.

“He working NFM every day. What time he has when he working his shifts? Get your facts right. Levi is just the driver that went on an off-route job. He just went to pick up somebody on a work in the airport.”

“Go and look in the station, go and ask them. They can’t tell you he was in jail, (or) he was ever locked up. They can’t tell you nothing like that.”

His father, a Jehovah’s Witness, said while he is mourning his son’s death, he believes the murders throughout the country are just a sign of the times.

“We know that we’re living in the last of the last days, and we expect these things…My son died, and that’s a big thing. But the fact that people getting killed left, right and centre, we expect these things. Jesus said that is how it will be in the last days.”

The family of the other victims declined to speak with the media.