They could have spared my mother


Relatives of Alex Jagassar leave the Forensics Science Centre in St James on Thursday afternoon. Jagassar was killed by two masked gunmen in Diego Martin earlier that day. – JEFF K MAYERS

Norva Le Maitre would easily have forgiven the gunmen who killed her after they chased and killed their main target inside her Curepe home on Wednesday night, but her daughter said she could never forgive the killers.

Around 7.45 pm, Le Maitre, 68, of Jackson Street, ran and hid behind some plants and crates after she heard gunshots.

Gunmen first killed her nephew Kwesi Parris, 36, but before leaving, found Le Maitre and shot her several times. She died at the scene.

A third victim, Peter Ferreira, 65, of Eastern Main Road, Curepe, was shot in both arms and legs. He is being treated at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

A police report said a group of men was liming in the yard when two masked gunmen approached and started shooting at Parris.

Parris, who also lives in the same compound, ran into Le Maitre’s house trying to escape but the men followed him and killed him in the kitchen.

Le Maitre ran to the southern side of the building where she hid, hoping, in vain, to escape.

Le Maitre and Parris’s bodies were later taken to the Forensic Sciences Centre.

When Newsday visited on Thursday morning, Le Maitre’s daughter said, “She was such a good woman, she would forgive whoever did this without thinking twice. She was just naturally nice.

“We don’t be vex with anyone for long. But me, I’m not forgiving them. Not in this life. And I’m being honest.’”

She had no words for the murderers responsible for her cousin and mother’s death except: “They could have at least spared my mother.

“I’ve lived here since a child, and I’m 40, but I’ve never experienced something like this. There would be little robberies, but not something where a man run inside a house and do something like this.”

She does not believe her mother was the target, nor does she believe rumours that her cousin used his aunt as a shield from gunmen.

“She wasn’t even inside where he ran.

“People could say what they want. He walk into them, he wasn’t hiding.”

She said La Maitre was a mother to many in the community.

“I’m trying to cope. Right now, I just feel the less I know about how she died, the better for me.

“She was very nice. After we watched our movie she went to her bed early because she wanted to get up early for work on Thursday.”

Her daughter said she left for work and a few hours she got a phone call telling her about the killings.

“I didn’t believe it. I told them that’s not true. I told them it’s a joke.

“They told me something happened at home, and they can’t find her. When I was in the street I saw the caution tape by our yard. That’s when it hit me.”

Recalling the last moments she spent with her mother, she said they enjoyed watching TV together.

“I just want to go to sleep and wake up with everything normal, and my mother here. This has to be a dream. It feels like one.”

Nearby residents were shocked by the murders. They said crime in the area has spiralled out of control and they no longer feel safe in their homes.

One man told Newsday, “I lived here for 42 years, and if you close your eyes for too long they take you out.”

Others said Le Maitre’s murder rocked the community, as she was always someone who would give good advice to young men in the area.

Newsday understands autopsies on the mother of four and her nephew are expected to be done early next week.

The Curepe murders were two of three that engaged the attention of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II on Thursday.

Around 1 am police received a call about a shooting in Cicada Extension, Diego Martin, after a dispute between two relatives.

Police said Alex Jagessar was shot dead while he was intoxicated. Jagessar was lying on the floor when two masked men entered the room and shot him several times. He was later pronounced dead.

A male relative is in police custody in connection to the murder.

When Newsday visited the home no one answered. A neighbour said he was awake when the incident happened.

“I’m not surprised by this. Just recently one of them shot at the other to kill him and the bullet grazed his head. He make a jail and just come out. We thought he cool himself, but like he start to act up again.”

The man said the suspect complained to him days ago about continuous mistreatment by a relative.

“This had to end one way or the other. I don’t know why they hated each other like that.”

Jaggessar’s mother and sister were at the Forensic Sciences Centre just after noon. His mother was inconsolable after seeing her son’s body and did not speak with Newsday.

His sister briefly told Newsday the family is having a “very tough time” dealing with what happened.

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