Residents, business people worry about crime after Spring Village shooting – ‘Gangs killing innocent people’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Lana Sahadeo’s business place, Lana’s Silver Spoons, was closed yesterday. Sahadeo was killed by a stray bullet on Wednesday. – Jeff K. Mayers

WORRIED AND ANGRY residents and business people spoke out on Thursday on the state of crime after 51-year-old Lana Sahadeo was killed by a stray bullet during a shooting incident on the Churchill Roosevelt highway on Wednesday.

At Sahadeo’s business place, Lana’s Silver Spoons, located opposite the Kay Donna roundabout, people expressed concern over the state of crime and described her death as unfortunate.

Her landlord, who did not want to be named, said she had been renting part of her property to Sahadeo for about a year. She said crime has gotten so rampant that the only solution is prayer.

“The best I can say is don’t look out,” the landlord said.

A woman patronising a nearby parlour said she warns her children about gunfire on a regular basis.

“I always tell them children whenever they hear gunshots is to stay inside,” she said.

A businessman and two staff members who operate a chicken depot next door to Sahadeo’s shop described her as a kind and generous woman.

They lauded her as a hard-working person who would open her business at 4 am to sell breakfast. Her business provided for taxi drivers, maxi drivers and early commuters trying to get breakfast during the early morning rush.

“Three days before Christmas, she brought a black cake for me,” said one of the men. “She knew my wife would be out of the country so she brought one for me because she knew I like black cake.”

The men at the chicken depot also lamented about crime and how it is affecting the nation. The business place was blocked off by high walls and burglar-proofing with small places to pass goods through.

“Look at this place and how we have to sit inside,” one of the men said. “It is like we are doing time here. It is like we are in jail. That is what we have to do.”

“If we really express our feelings about what happened, people might get vexed with us,” the owner said.

“That woman was a very good person. If anyone says anything bad about her, they are lying.”

“Innocent people are getting killed because of gangs,” said another man at the depot.

“If they know who the gang members are, what are they doing about it?”

Newsday also visited Sahadeo’s residence on Bassie Street in Spring Village, Valsayn. While relatives declined to speak, one resident spoke about crime.

“All I can say is these people are lawless, and there is not much we can do about it,” the resident said.

According to police, Damien Cross of St Paul Street, Port of Spain; Jerry Hollingsworth of Tilbury Place, Laventille; Kishon Mc Shine of Besson Street, East Dry River, Port of Spain; and Kashiff “Kman Sixx” Sankar of Clifton Hill, East Dry River, Port of Spain, were in a car being driven by Ricardo Levi Cross of Annisette Street, East Dry River, Port of Spain.

They were driving west along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway at about 2.30 pm when machine gun fire rang out. The car swerved off the highway and smashed into the guard rails at the side of the road near Steve and Associates Air Condition. Damien Cross ran a short distance along the highway and then fell dead on the side of the road. Gunmen approached Ricardo Cross and shot him several times while he was pinned in the car.

Hollingsworth got out of the car and ran but was chased by gunmen and shot. He fell dead near Sawmill Drive.

Sahadeo’s relatives told police that she was sitting in the living room of their house with her husband when they heard gunshots.

She went to her bedroom on the eastern side of the home to see what was going on. Shortly after her husband followed and found her on the floor, bleeding from gunshot wounds.

A time and location-specific alert sent to US citizens in Trinidad and Tobago said to exercise caution in the St Augustine area, as there is potential for increased crime.

“Due to recent gang activity in St Augustine, US citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution in the St Augustine areas of Trincity Mall, Trincity, Grand Bazaar and Valsayn areas into the new year,” the alert said.

A spokesperson confirmed the veracity of the alert, saying it is not an update to the travel advisory.