Leo Hilaire, father of murdered cable technician Shamal Hilaire, speaks at the scene of his son’s death at Ste Madeleine Circular Road, Ste Madeleine on Thursday. Photo by Lincoln Holder
Shamal “Pumpkin” Hilaire, 27, was live streaming on social media on Thursday, showing his friends and followers himself working on the roadside in Ste Madeleine.
Moments later, shortly after 10 am, images of his body with gunshot wounds on the very same job site began to circulate on social media.
Hilaire, and his brother-in-law Romeo Williams, 44, of Fyzabad, were doing maintenance work on cable lines at Ste Madeleine Circular Street where a gunman ambushed them.
Reports are a car pulled up alongside the panel van they were in. A gunman got out and opened fire toward them, hitting both. Hilaire was shot dead in the driver’s seat, while Williams was wounded and taken to the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).
Relatives told Newsday that Hilaire, the father of one, was from Santa Flora but moved to Maracas St Joseph about two years ago.
Williams owned Martis International Services, the company contracted to do the maintenance work.
A ladder was still next to a pole near the van, which indicated they might have been on a break.
When Hilaire’s father, Leo Hilaire, and other relatives arrived at the scene, the body was already placed in a bag.
The bereaved father expressed his displeasure for not being allowed to see the body.
Leo referred to the killer as “a stupidee.”
“A stupidee gunned him down. People are leaving home working for an honest dollar and cannot reach back home. His baby is about three months’ old. What am I to tell the family?” Leo said.
Hilaire was among four people killed by gunmen in separate incidents between Wednesday and Thursday. Norva Le Maitre, 68, and nephew Kwesi Parris, 36, were killed by masked gunmen on Jackson Street, Curepe on Wednesday night. A third 65-year-old man was also wounded in that incident.
On Thursday morning, just before 1 am, Alex Jagessar was killed, also by masked gunmen, on Cicada Extension, Diego Martin.
At Ste Madeline, Hilaire’s sister and Williams’ wife, Kimberly Hilaire-Williams, said work began in the area the day before. There were three other workers in separate vehicles working in the area at the time of the killing.
Hilaire-Williams said her husband had been working abroad for most of the pandemic. He recently got the contract to do the maintenance work and was happy to work in the country and be with his family.
She said she saw her brother’s live stream on Instagram and was surprised to get a call about his death soon after.
“We are hearing that he was shot several times. So clearly, he was the target,” she said.
She said her husband was shot in one of his hands. Hilaire-Williams said she headed straight to the crime scene and did not yet get a chance to see him at the hospital.
APS Persad, Insp Maharaj, Sgt Elvin, PC Griffith and other police from the Homicide Bureau Region III and the Southern Division visited the scene.
The police do not have a motive for the murder.
The shooting happened a stone’s throw from where the funeral of murder victim Omish Allan Sinanan, 20, took place at the corner of Ste Madeleine Circular and Bell Vue Street.
Sinanan’s body had just been taken from the yard of the family’s home to the Shore of Peace Cremation Site in La Romaine when the latest killing happened.
Hilaire-Williams said she only learnt about that previous killing when she arrived at the scene.
Sinanan was shot dead on April 28 at around 8. 30 pm in the gallery of the same home while visiting relatives.
Sinanan lived alone nearby at Edward Circular Street.
The police said the killer parked nearby at Ste Madeleine Circular Street, walked into the yard, and opened fire from close range at Sinanan.
DEATH FOLLOWS DEATH:Crime scene investigators, police officials and onlookers at the scene of the murder of cable technician Shamal Hilaire who was killed Thursday on Ste Madeleine Circular Road, mere metres and moments away from the funeral of another man that was murdered in an unrelated incident last week. Photo by Lincoln Holder
The killer got back in the car and drove off.
Less than 24 hours after Sinanan’s murder, around 7 pm last week Friday, at the corner of Ste Madeleine Circular and Bell Vue Street, a gunman shot and wounded two people.
The police said a 50-year-old male customer was at a parlour. A car pulled along the street, shop and someone opened fire. The customer, as well as the owner, a woman, 36, was hit and taken to the hospital.
Both were hospitalised.
The police were unable to say if the shootings were connected.
Investigators were expected to view CCTV footage of the killing.
No one has been arrested, and investigations are ongoing.
Calls to councillor Chris Hosein, of the Princes Town Regional Corporation, for comments went unanswered.