Tunapuna residents want more streetlights, police patrols after home invasion

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Residents of Centenary Street Extension, Tunapuna were left shaken on Wednesday night after a home invasion ended with three farmers being shot and a bandit being chopped.

Police said a 46-year-old woman was bathing her baby at their home at around 7.15 pm when a gunman entered the house and took her to a bedroom demanding valuables.

A male relative who was in the house locked the door, as two other bandits began shooting through a window, wounding the man and two others.

The wounded men confronted the bandit who was in the house, chopping him several times.

The bandit ran out of the house with the others to a nearby car and drove off.

Police took the wounded men to hospital, where they were warded up to Thursday afternoon.

Newsday visited on Thursday and tried to speak with occupants of the house, but they said they would rather not say anything until other relatives returned home from the hospital.

Despite this some relatives raised concerns over the lacke of street lights and called for the Tunapuna/ Piarco Regional Corporation (TPRC) to help clear overgrown bushes at the roadside which could hide possible attackers.

Speaking with Newsday, resident Richard Rampersad was concerned farmers in the community were being targeted by bandits when returning home from the market.

Rampersad suspected the homes of farmers were being monitored by criminals, referring to another incident last year when another group of farmers were robbed in their homes.

“My niece and nephew (ages eight and ten) were playing outside here when it happened and when they (bandits) sped out of here after the incident, they almost got knocked down in the process.

“The men who were wounded last night are friends of mine and they were supposed to be helping me with this work here today. But look what came and happened.

“This is hard work here in the hot sun and rain, standing in muddy water for hours, but it come like we working night and day to pay the bandits.”

Rampersad said he suspected the bandits involved in the incident may have been monitoring the victims for some time, as he remembered seeing their car in the neighbourhood last week.

Newsday spoke to another resident who asked not to be identified, as she said she was traumatised after hearing about the incident and was fearful for her own life and her family’s.

“We don’t really hear about robberies and that kind of thing in this part – maybe in one of the other communities further east of here, but not here exactly.

“I know one of the guys who was shot: he was over at my house at around midday on Wednesday. They are good fellas and they didn’t deserve this.”

The woman said while there were some streetlights at the top of the street, near the highway, the area where the attack took place had none.

Newsday spoke to St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen, who said she was upset after hearing about the attack.

Ameen said she had known the family since her time as a councillor in the area and was outraged that hard-working families were being targeted by criminals.

“They are very hardworking people and they are involved in agriculture – in fact many of the families in that area are involved with crops – but because they are hardworking, criminals may assume they have a lot of money.

“As an MP I have been on an exercise with councillors to visit these areas at night to see which streetlights are working and which are not and submit this list to the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) for them to get the repairs done. But because of the lockdown we have had to put this exercise on hold.

“This is an exercise I think the T&TEC should take some responsibility for and visit these areas at night to see for themselves which lights need repairing.”

Ameen said she was concerned that criminals were getting more bold with the recent attack.

Responding to Newsday’s questions via WhatsApp, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said the senior superintendent of the Northern Division had said there will be increased patrols in the area.

“Investigations are continuing into this matter to find those responsible.

“The police continues to ensure the security and safety of the citizens during the state of emergency and the covid19 pandemic.”

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