Santa Cruz man shot dead while riding bike

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo by Roger Jacob

RESIDENTS of Upper Santa Cruz described murdered 33-year-old Benji Emmanuel as helpful and passionate about steering youths away from crime.

According to reports, on July 9 around 4 pm, Emmanuel was riding his bicycle near Villa Cruz Sports Bar at Cantaro Village in Santa Cruz when a car drove up, an unidentified man got out and fired several shots.

The assailant then got back in the waiting car and drove off. Two other men, identified only as Ritche and Rattie, were also shot.

Newsday visited the scene around 5.30 pm, where scores of residents gathered around to watch police process the crime scene as Emmanuel’s body lay covered with a white sheet soaked in his blood.

One resident, who did not give his name, described Emmanuel as kind and always willing to help others in need.

“There was a time I didn’t get paid and I told him I needed help until my money came through. He gave me $3,000. If someone needed their grass cut or he saw an elderly person in need, he would help.”

Another resident said Emmanuel was organising a football competition set to be held on July 13.

“I don’t know if they will still have the competition. He was always trying to do stuff to keep the youths away from crime.”

Emmanuel’s brother, who was at the scene, stood silently watching as the police processed the scene. He described his brother as humble and said he did not have any court matters, nor was he involved in any gangs.

“He was the last of us. He had his ways, but nobody is perfect.”

As investigators removed the sheet covering Emmanuel’s body to inspect it, he looked on sombrely, his eyes fixed on the gruesome scene.

“I’m not bothered by it. He had been lying there for hours before the police came and covered him. I went up and looked at him,” he said.

He said his mother was not dealing with Emmanuel’s death well and was struggling to cope.