Suspect in PC Gilkes’ death tells his side

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo.

A 29-year-old Diego Martin man who is believed to be a suspect in the shooting death of PC Clarence Gilkes has denied his involvement in the officer’s death and says he is willing to surrender to clear his name.

An audio recording from the man was circulated on social media on Sunday in which the man, in a conversation with his attorney, said he was willing to surrender under the right conditions to ensure his safety.

According to the official police report, Gilkes and a party of officers responded to a report of heavily armed men in the area and went to Upper Rich Plain Road, Diego Martin.

Police said the officers were shot at by the men and returned fire.

Gilkes is believed to have been shot by one of the gunmen during the shootout.

Residents in the area, however, claim Gilkes was shot by one of his fellow officers by accident.

In the audio recording, the man gave his account of the incident in detail which contradicts the official police report and said, while he was prepared to give himself up, he needed a guarantee that the autopsy report needed to clear him of any wrongdoing would not be interfered with.

The man who has been arrested in the past said he was fearful of police since filing a complaint against them for harassment.

“I am willing to give up myself but I need a guarantee from you that, yes, the Police Complaints (Authority) are going to get the proper forensics exam, they are going to get the pathologist to do it the legal way and not the corrupted illegal way because we know the system we here with, we know this system.

“You told me when we filed the lawsuit these police would be coming at me because we know the system we are up against.

“So just give me a guarantee, meaning: yes, forensics will give the correct report. And I won’t sit down in jail just so. And I would give up myself as fast as possible.”

Describing the incident, the man claimed he was walking down the hill to a nearby shop, early on Friday afternoon, when he was confronted by the police.

He says, despite being unarmed, he was fired upon by the officers.

“I started brakes-ing shots, I was between him some plants and a tank stand behind me and him in front me.

“While him shooting, it made the first officer who approached me begin to shoot and a WPC to the back, she began shooting too.

“It was only until the police officer to the left of the first officer that approached me, shot his colleague and see him dip forward, was when he dropped his firearm.

“His colleague turned and said ‘Ay you hit me,’ that was the last thing I heard. After that, I started running. I realised this was my little escape here. They trying to kill me for no reason.

“Within looking back, the same police officer – the one who started shooting – he is picking up shells while the other officer was checking his colleague.”

Up to press time on Sunday the man remained at large.