Slain policeman’s brother begs: No reprisal killings, please

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police at the scene of shooting at Harpe Place, Obseratory Street, Port of Spain on March
16 where five people were killed and three injured. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

The brother of a police officer who was among five people killed in a mass shooting on Saturday is begging other victims’ loved ones not to carry out reprisal killings.

Sgt Larry Christopher Phillip, 52, was liming with a group of people near a bench, under a tree at Harpe Place, Observatory Street, Port of Spain, when a white Nissan Tiida drove in.

The car’s occupants rolled down the windows, pointed guns at the limers and began shooting at them.

The Tiida reversed, sped out of the compound and the gunmen escaped. When the smoke cleared, eight people had been shot, including a teenager and a woman.

Five of the victims died and three had gunshot wounds to their legs. Phillip was the father of two and the youngest of five siblings.

Phillip’s two brothers, speaking with the media at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, sent condolences to the families of the four other victims who died in the shooting.

They begged them not to take matters into their own hands and hurt other innocent people in the process.

One said: “Reprisals cannot bring back loved ones. When somebody gets shot or killed there’s always reprisals, because they say, ‘Boy, I lost my brother, I lost my sister, I lost my nephew,’ and it’s all about, ‘People have to pay for this, boy.’

“But they don’t care whoever pay for it, so it’ll be a shooting spree. So, just my humble opinion, reprisal doesn’t bring back your loved ones.”

Phillip’s brothers said it was “a normal thing” for Phillip to lime at Harpe Place, as he lived just a stone’s throw away on Observatory Street.

He was an outgoing man whose life revolved around his love for music.

“He likes people. He spent most of his working life in the TT Police Service with the police band. He loves music and he liked to make people happy. He was a relatively fun guy to be around.

“He was involved with Renegades steelband and he was also a member of Calypso Revue. He used to play instruments there too. In his younger years he did some work with Sparrow. He used to play with Ed Watson in his younger years.”

They said Phillip’s proudest moments were when he was either in uniform or representing his country on the international stage.

“I think one of the highlights of his career was when he went to Germany with the police band. He always talked highly about that.

“He loved his job and he took his job very seriously.” They said his specialty was reed instruments and he had already begun making plans for after he retired. “

He always planned to go back home when he retired, because he wanted to build and add on to our mom’s house in Morvant.

“After his retirement, he was just planning on continuing music and teaching music to the younger folks. He really wanted to continue with music and any teaching aspect of it.”

The voice of one brother was tinged with sadness as he remembered Phillip, saying he regretted they had not remained close over the years, but had grown apart slightly as they aged.

“We had some really good time together as brothers…When we all moved out, we kind of was separated, but yet still connected.

“One thing I really wanted to do but I didn’t get to do, and it really hurt me. Normally at Christmas they will come up by me and have a lime.

“We didn’t get to do that and that really hurting me. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to do that and to really spend more time with him.”

They said they had planned to visit relatives in south Trinidad, as their uncle died a few years ago and they had not seen those relatives in years. “

We had plans to kind of like reconnect with our family in the southern peninsula, but we never really get to do that.”

His other brother added, “I love him dearly and I will really miss him and I wish that I would have spent more time with him. I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked. But I really do miss him dearly.”

Both brothers were grateful to the police for their support after their brother’s death.

They said the police helped them to retrieve their brother’s ID card, which they needed for the identification process at the Forensic Science Centre, as he lived alone and his apartment was locked.

“We went yesterday to his place, but we didn’t have access to it. So it’s only this (Monday) morning my brother and a friend was able to access it with a member of the police so they were able to get the documents.”

They also thanked the staff at the Forensic Science Centre who co-operated with the police and allow them to identify their brother’s body before it closed.