Shot man bleeds to death in San Fernando, relatives blame slow emergency response

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Paul Dillon Sirjuesingh –

RELATIVES of a murdered San Fernando man have said they were disappointed with the slow response by emergency personnel that forced them to watch him die, on Wednesday night.

The pungent odour of ammonia surrounded the Temple Street, Duncan Village home, on Thursday morning, as relatives worked feverishly to clean the ground where, hours before, Paul Dillon Sirjuesingh, 31, lay in his blood, gasping for air and convulsing— all in the view of helpless loved ones.

Sirjuesingh’s aunt asked for her name to be withheld as she recalled the events. Retiring to bed along with her mother, she said they were awakened by several loud explosions, the first of which they thought was fireworks.

“I initially thought it was firecrackers or fireworks, but that’s strange on a Wednesday night randomly. So instinctively, I ran to the living room and when I looked out he was lying in front of the gap,” she said. She immediately ran down the stairs toward him and was joined by neighbours.

“He was unresponsive lying face down. I couldn’t tell where he would have been hit or injured because you were just seeing blood. He would have convulsed. His eyes were still open but he was not responsive.”

She said she, along with neighbours, made several attempts to contact 999 before they finally got someone to answer.

“The person was saying you not making sense, asking where he hit and I am saying I cannot see that he is lying face down, it’s a lot of blood. I believe I disconnected the call because my neighbour was also trying to get through onto the ambulance.” She said she felt as though the person on the other side of the line was not understanding of their situation.

She said it took 15 minutes for the first police officer to arrive and even longer for the ambulance to arrive.

“Forty minutes, right? Forty minutes watching somebody that I held as a child bleed out on the ground.”

Paul Dillon Sirjuesingh bled to death after he got shot outside his relatives’ home at Temple Street, Duncan Village, San Fernando on February 21. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

“I am very disappointed because to me, I cannot see whether there was life in him for how long after he got shot, but I’m seeing perhaps if the response-time is quicker, there might be a chance of saving a life, than a family now have to come and go through the trauma of this happening. It is already a traumatic experience that your loved one has been shot. But to go through the trauma of this? Forty minutes for an ambulance?”

She said the family had no idea why someone would kill Sirjuesingh but noted it was strange for him to be standing outside the property so late at night.

“I don’t care what anybody has to say about him, I don’t care what he do. I know he never killed nobody and whatever he do, he didn’t deserve to die like that.”

Police said around 11.45 pm, a brown Tiida pulled up alongside Sirjuesingh who was standing outside the front gate and opened fire, hitting him several times. Crime scene investigators retrieved 11 spent nine-millimetre shells, one projectile and a quantity of a plant-like substance.

His aunt said Sirjuesingh was living with them for the last three months. His mother lives a few minutes away in Duncan Village. She declined to speak to Newsday at the time.