[UPDATED] 2 shot dead in St Augustine; 40 homicides in 24 days – More murders than days

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Twopeople including 16-year-old Darshan Ramnauth were shot dead at Freeman Road St Augustine. Photo by Sureash Cholai

MERE days away from his 17th birthday, a St Augustine schoolboy was gunned down while going to check on his grandmother on Tuesday afternoon, after hearing gunshots outside their home.

Police said gunmen in a grey Toyota Corolla drove to Freeman Street, St Augustine at around 2.20 pm and shot a man known only as Geno, killing him instantly and wounding two others, one of whom is a visually impaired man.

As the gunshots rang out, 16-year-old Darshan Ramnauth ran out of his house to check on his grandmother Soorajie Mahabir, who lives nearby.

As he walked on to the street, Ramnauth was spotted by the gunmen who turned their weapons on him. As the frightened teen turned and ran off, he was chased. Gunshots rang out once again and the youth collapsed on the road. The killers got back into their car and drove off.

Caption: Darshan Ramnauth, 16, was shot and killed near his Freeman Road, St Augustine, home on Tuesday afternoon.

A report was made to police and while the wounded men were taken away to hospital for treatment, screams rent the air as Ramnauth’s relatives including his grandmother stared at his body.

The district medical officer arrived later and ordered both bodies removed to the Forensic Science Centre in St James for autopsies.

Less than an hour after the double-murder, police from the North Central Division arrested three men in Five Rivers, Arouca and seized three pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle. One of the pistols was outfitted with an extended magazine. Police could not say if these three were Ramnauth’s killers.

The double-murder, plus another murder on Tuesday in El Socorro, meant that there were 40 murders up to January 24.

When Newsday visited the scene on Tuesday afternoon, crime scene investigators and police from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II were still continuing enquiries, taking statements and photographing the area.

Ramnauth’s mother, Dhanmatie Ramnauth said she got a call while at her Mt Hope workplace from a relative telling her that Darshan was killed.

She said Darshan was a form five student of St Augustine Secondary School and was expected to write CSEC examinations later this year.

Ramnauth said her son wanted to go to Tobago for his birthday on February 1, and worked part-time as a straightener and painter for an auto body show to make money. She said he stayed at home on Monday and Tuesday to finish working on a car.

CRIME SCENE: An officer processes the scene in Freeman Street, St Augustine after a double-murder on Tuesday which claimed the lives of a man and a 16-year-old schoolboy. Photo by Sureash Cholai

“He was waiting on the boy (co-worker) to pick him up to go in St Joseph, that’s where they do the straightening and painting. His sister said he just finished eating and went to use the washroom.

“When he came outside, he heard the gunshots. He thought the car with the gunmen left already, that’s when he ran across the road to see if his grandmother was okay. She was cooking at the time.

“When he went outside, the gunmen saw him, chased him and shot him down,” Ramnauth said. Police said they did not believe the teen was the target of the gunmen.

Ramnauth said innocent people, including children, are being killed in this country for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It’s the innocent who are getting killed, that is the worst part.” Darshan’s father, Kishore Ramnauth, died before he was born.

Nearby, the teen’s grandmother sat on a chair and sobbed. She was consoled by a policewoman who gently sapped her head with a liquid lotion. The elderly woman was too overcome with grief to speak with Newsday.

Ramnauth said her son had dreams of migrating to Colorado, USA after he wrote his exams, to live and work with relatives.

Recalling her last interaction with her son, Ramnauth said she spoke with him on Monday night to ask if he wanted anything to eat before going to bed. She did not get the chance to speak with him on Tuesday morning as he was still asleep when she left for work.

Editor’s Note: This story is an update for an earlier story published online, which can be read below:

A 16-YEAR-OLD schoolboy was one of two people gunned down in St Augustine on Tuesday afternoon.

Police said a dark-coloured car drove into Freeman Road at around 2.20 pm.

Gunmen shot at a man identified only as Geno, killing him.

Police said the man was not from the area.

As the shooting was taking place, schoolboy Darshan Ramnauth got out of his house to check on his grandmother who was outside. The killers saw the teen and chased him down, shooting him several times. He died at the scene.

Two other people who were also wounded in the attack, were taken to hospital.

Newsday visited the area as crime scene investigators and officers of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II conducted their enquiries.