Two men held after ex-cop shot dead at home in Penal

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Relatives being consoled at the scene of the murder of businessman and former police officer Syed Mohammed at his Katwaroo trace Penal home on Monday. Photo by Lincoln Holder

Policeman-turned-businessman Syed Mohammed of Penal was about to go to his clothing store to start his week-long annual Christmas clearance sale on Monday when his life was cut short.

Mohammed, 46, only made it to his garage at around 9 am, when gunmen ambushed and shot him “execution-style.”

But quick action by the police led to the arrests of two male suspects at Debe Trace, Debe, minutes later. The police also found a Glock 17 pistol with an extended magazine and several rounds of ammunition, which they believe was the murder weapon.

A relative, who asked not to be named said about seven gunshots were heard at Katwaroo Trace. Mohammed was hit several times, including in the forehead. After he fell to the ground, one of the shooters stood over the body and shot him again.

Crime scene investigators at the scene of the murder of businessman and former police officer Syed Mohammed at his Katwaroo trace Penal home. Photo by Lincoln Holder

The father of three children ages, 17, six, and four, Mohammed owned Sy-Lee’s Fashion Outlet Ltd at the corner of Katwaroo Trace and SS Erin Road, Penal. About three years ago, he left the police service as a constable.

The relative said Mohammed and his wife were preparing for the business’s annual Christmas clearance sale, which was set to start on Monday and end on Friday. The business advertised that customers would get 50-80 per cent off items.

Reports are that a white car drove past the house to a dead-end street and turned around.

As it reached the front of Mohammed’s home, gunmen got out while Mohammed was in the garage. After the shooting, the gunmen returned to the car, which grove out of the street.

Undertakers remove the body of businessman and former police officer Syed Mohammed after he was shot and killed at his Katwaroo trace Penal home on Monday. Photo by Lincoln Holder

“This is not a case of mistaken identity. These men clearly came for him…This is when he would usually leave home to go to the store. Somebody was marking him, but we do not know why,” the relative said. “His wife and (their two) children were inside.”

No one else was injured.

“The community is in shock, because he was a good fella,” the relative said. “He loved cricket. That was his sport.”

Homoicide officers at the scene of the murder of businessman and former police officer, Syed Mohammed who was shot and killed at his home on Katwaroo trace, penal. Photo by Lincoln Holder

Mohammed’s deceased father was also a retired policeman, as is his brother.

Scores of police from Southern and South Western Divisions and the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region (III) and civilians gathered at the house.

People looked on as police cordoned off the area and waited for the body to be removed.

As residents waited, they began complaining about the lack of water supply in the area. The Asgarali family said they had not had any water in the past five weeks, and paid $400 for truck-borne water.

Less than 30 minutes after the killing, PCs Deena and Vialva of the Southern Division ERP Unit saw a car fitting the description of the getaway can and intercepted it in Debe, where they recovered the gun and ammunition.

Checks showed the car had a false licence plate.

On arrest, one of the occupants identified himself as the nephew of a senior policeman.

The suspects, from Princes Town and Couva, were handed over to South Western Division police.

The clothing store along the SS ERin road and Katwaroo trace Penal owned by former police officer Syed Mohammed who was killed on Monday. Photo by Lincoln Holder

Acting Snr Supt Dhillpaul, ASP Persad of the Homicide Bureau and ASP Ramdeen, Insp Rampartap, Sgts Ramkhalawan and Victor, Cpl Seecharan, and other police from South Western Division were at the scene.

The police do not have a motive for the killing. Investigations are ongoing.