Off-duty cop murdered in bar, suspect held seeking treatment at hospital

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dale Mayers –

A wounded suspect in the murder of an off-duty police officer has denied any knowledge of the officer’s death and instead claims he was the victim in an unrelated shooting.

Dale Mayers died after he was shot during what police believe was a botched robbery.

Mayers was liming at a bar in Montrose, Chaguanas with his wife and a friend on Monday night when a man entered and announced a hold-up.

Mayers drew his licensed firearm and shot at the man.

The gunman shot back, wounding Mayers.

Mayers, who was last assigned to the Arima Police Station, was taken to hospital where he died while being treated.

A suspect who fitted the general appearance and physical description of the assailant involved in the shooting was held by police hours later while seeking treatment at the Port of Spain General Hospital for a gunshot wound.

Newsday understands the suspect told police he was shot while seated in a car on George Street.

The suspect said he was with a relative when a black SUV pulled alongside their car.

He heard several loud explosions and felt a burning sensation in his shoulder and back and was taken to hospital by his relative.

The suspect is being held under police guard at the hospital.

Mayers death no hit-job

A spokesperson for the bar where Mayers was shot dismissed social media claims that Mayers murder was a hit-job.

“The suspect said it was a robbery. If it was a hit they would have walked in and shot up the place.”

He said Mayers was a “regular customer” and offered condolences to his family.

“He was always a very warm and engaging individual. He would always bring a smile to your face and engage with everyone around him. This whole situation is very unfortunate, and we hope the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

The spokesperson said the attempted robbery was not the norm in the area as there is usually a high police presence.

A driver who was in the area around the time of the shooting told Newsday they remember seeing a static police patrol parked several hundred metres away from the bar.

The spokesperson, who is a retired senior police officer, said criminal elements though are taking advantage of the few weaknesses in the area.

“For instance there is a track nearby that leads to a back street. On this occasion, and last year when there was another homicide, the criminal elements used this track to access the main road, and conduct their crimes, and disappear. Although the track does serve a purpose to the community, it is also an avenue of easy escape for criminal elements.”

The bar reopened shortly after midday on Tuesday and the spokesperson said despite the unfortunate incident it had no intention of shutting its doors.

“This is a family run business that has been serving Montrose and Chaguanas communities for over 15 years. This bar is like an institution. We don’t have trouble from the community, it’s people from outside the community who cause trouble.”

He called on the public to work with the police to address crime in TT.

“The crime situation in this country right now is terrible, it is just out of control. And we need to get a handle on it. The citizens of this country, regardless of how you feel about the police service and their efforts, need to work with the TTPS. Because the officers cannot do it on their own. We need to stand together as one and combat this issue, because divided, we will all fall.”

Police Welfare Association: Criticism unfortunate

Meanwhile, the TT Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) condemned Mayers murder.

In a statement, the association said it will ensure available resources be utilized to have his killer brought to justice and urged all stakeholders and the public to “play their part in this regard.”

It said the criminal justice system must equally play its role in safeguarding law-abiding citizens.

“When the ‘Gate Keepers ‘ are attacked, then all that remains is a fragile society whose fundamental rights of safety and security become compromised.

“Enough is enough, the law abiding and the law enforcers are greater in number and it’s time we all work collectively to rid our country of this scourge of crime.”

TTPSSWA head Gideon Dickson said the criticism being levelled at Mayers over the use of his firearm to defend himself is unfortunate.

Footage of the shooting on social media shows Mayers shooting at the suspect with his wife in the line of fire between him and the gunman.

“It is rather unfortunate that we would sit here and be speculating as to how the response should have been or could have been in that scenario when we have the luxury to do it. But a family has lost a father, a brother, uncle, and a breadwinner.”

Dickson suggested Mayers was within his rights to use his gun.

“A Firearm User’s Licence (FUL) in most instances would have been issued for a person to protect himself, his family and his interests, and should only be drawn if your life is in immediate and present danger.

“Was that officer’s life in immediate danger? Was persons in his vicinity in immediate danger? Should he have allowed the perpetrator to disarm him and leave with the FUL? The jury is out.

“Should he have allowed man to realise he have a firearm and then take his life. The jury is out.”

He suggested criticism should be levelled at the criminals rather than those who choose to defend themselves.

“The fact is, we have young men who have decided to take criminal enterprise as a way of life and, without any regard for life or limb, they are doing what they feel they need to. The young man would have walked into that establishment unmasked without a care and a concern as to whether there are cameras or not, with an intent to take from others what he did not give to them.”

Dickson urged officers to remain vigilant at all times but accepted this may not always be the case.

“(Vigilance) is what most, if not all, trained officers adopt. However, there’s also the unguarded moment, because they are human beings, too.”


In addition to being a police officer, Mayers was also a skilled racer and mechanic.

Moments before his death, Mayers attended a briefing with other drivers for a two-day drag racing event at Wallerfield Raceway scheduled for this weekend

The event, which was to be hosted by Adrenaline Shot Promotions, has since been cancelled out of respect for Mayers.

Stephen Teelucksingh of popular Facebook group TrinBago Racing Coverage said Mayers was a respected racer and one of the top three drivers in the country.

He said Mayers was loved and known by everyone in the motorsport fraternity and added racing will never be the same without Mayers “coming to put on a show.”

“Dale has been racing for decades, participating in off-roading and boat racing…He had a love for Mazda and rotary engines and has the local record for the quickest Mazda & rotary-powered car in the country of 7.42 seconds @ 176 MPH on the quarter mile.

“It is sad to know that going over 160 MPH on a Drag strip is way safer than having a drink with friends.”