Killers search Mount Grace apartment door to door

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The apartment complex in Mt Grace, Tobago, where a man was gunned down around 3am on Wednesday. Photo by David Reid

MINUTES before gunmen shot Casney Carrera in his apartment early Wednesday morning, the killers broke the doors of two ground-floor units in the two-storey apartment building at Church Lane, Mount Grace, Tobago, as they searched desperately for him.

Realising he was not on the ground floor, Carrera’s killers then walked up the stairs to the first floor of the building and broke down the door to another apartment, where they found him sleeping with his wife and three young children.

Carrera, in an effort to protect his family, confronted the men and a struggle ensued.

One of the men shot Carrera in the pelvic area. He was taken to the Scarborough General Hospital where he died.

Carrera’s death came just three weeks after the fatal shooting of dancehall artiste N’Kosi Bovell, aka Fari Dan, at a bar in Scarborough. He is Tobago’s fourth murder victim for 2022.

The shooting rattled the small, peaceful, church-going community, situated on the outskirts of Scarborough.

When Newsday visited the area around 9 am, residents were huddled outside in one of the ground-floor apartments, still stunned by the incident.

A tenant, visibly shaken by the experience, said she was awakened by a loud noise from the first floor shortly after 3 am.

She said she woke her husband, who also said the noise came from the first floor.

“I heard some more noise coming from upstairs and I thought maybe the upstairs tenants were having a dispute,” she said.

“But then I heard a lot of grumbling and I heard a gunshot and the dogs barking and I realised then, that it was more than a domestic dispute.”

The tenant said she told her husband not to go outside “because meh belly started to boil in a particular way.”

She said he heard another loud noise but was not sure if it was a gunshot.

The woman said she then saw a police vehicle driving into the parking area of the apartment building.

“By the time I said, ‘Look, it have police,’ in my mind, I saw the flashlights coming in the house.”

The tenant said she knew one of the policeman.

“But when we came outside thinking is just another break-in, then we found out that the guy upstairs was shot and everybody’s apartment was broken into.”

The tenant said at the time the policemen arrived, she did not even realise that her own apartment was broken into.

“They apparently broke into ours first but I suspect they were looking for somebody because they did not take anything. My handbag was right there and they did not search it.

“The door was broken down but we did not hear it because we have those ‘helicopter’ fans. Thank God because I don’t know what we would have done.”

The woman, whose family moved into the apartment just over six months ago, said she no longer feels safe in the area.

“Is only yesterday (Tuesday) my sister was asking me if we were comfortable in the apartment. Then I had to call her back and tell her what happened. Now she and all in shock.”

She described Carrera as “a humble, hardworking family man,” who is always willing to assist other tenants.

Another tenant told Newsday the men, who wore masks, also broke into her apartment and announced that they were “looking for someone.”

She added, “I have never experienced anything like this.”

The woman, who has been living in the ground floor apartment for the past three years, also regarded Carrera as quiet and helpful.

A senior police officer told Newsday the men, who were dressed in camouflage and tactical wear, broke into Carrera’s apartment, asking for money.

He said Carrera told the men he did not have any money and they began to fight.

The police officer said Carrera, who does agriculture, landscaping and other jobs to support his family, had a pending court matter but was not known to be involved in any criminal activity.

Casney Carrera

He said counselling is being arranged for Carrera’s three children.

Sgt Joefield of the Homicide Division is leading investigations.

Commenting on Tobago’s latest murder, crime economist Anselm Richards reiterated his call for stricter measures to stem the flow of illegal guns into Tobago.

“We have to upgrade the security capabilities at the Scarborough port to detect firearms,” he said.

Richards said police, through intelligence gathering, must have a “deliberate operation” to take illegal firearms off the streets of communities in Tobago.

“What we are continuing to see now is crime that presents in the use of firearms in robberies and the commission of murders. The weapon of choice in the incident was a firearm.”

Richards said that Tobago, because of its size and close-knit nature, cannot withstand a continued upsurge in gun violence, especially murders.

“The social ramifications of that will be devastating.”

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has spoken out against the increasing number of murders on the island.

After Bovell’s murder, he met with the heads of various security agencies in Tobago to devise a strategy to tackle crime.

On that occasion, Augustine said, “That’s not the Tobago we know. Every murder is shocking and alarming to us and I don’t ever want us to be desensitised…It is something that we have to treat with rather quickly.”

He said crime is partly economics but mostly a social issue that must be addressed with a concerted effort with particular attention to young men.