A 26-SECONDSvideo posted early Monday morning to social media, by Enrique “SpongeBob” Gill, showing him attending the Stink and Dutty J’Ouvert fete in Tarouba, is what police believe was used by gunmen to find and later ambush Gill, shooting him and two other men while they were in a car heading home from the fete.
When the shooting ended, Gill and another man, who up to press time remained unidentified, were dead in the car, while the third man, identified as Kelvin Mitchell of Longdenville, was taken to hospital and was warded in critical condition up to 5.30 pm.
The deaths of these two men were among six murders to take place in the country between Sunday night and yesterday. There were at least ten murders committed in Trinidad between Friday and Monday.
Mitchell, who suffered gunshot wounds to the back of his neck, is said to be warded at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).
Acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob, who visited the scene of the double-murder in Tarouba, told Newsday, “We have enough murder in this country.”
As he lamented several double murders in the northern division, he said the double homicide in Tarouba was related to gang violence and reprisal killings between particular gangs. He said he did not want to identify the gangs at the risk of glorifying them, but added that intelligence was being gathered to deal with them.
Jacob said the Tarouba killings were the seventh and eighth murder in the south where the victims were not from the southland.
“What we are seeing is people being targeted outside of their normal areas of their gang operations. As they leave and go into other areas, they become more vulnerable and accessible.”
A police report said around 10.40 am on Monday, Highway Patrol Unit 41, including WPC La Barrie and others, responded to a report of an incident along the northbound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway opposite the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, where the Stink and Dutty fete was held.
The officers saw a black Toyota Corolla Altis off the road. Upon checking, three men were found, all with gunshot wounds. Two of them including Gill, were dead. The car was riddled with bullets.
Jacob said the Tarouba double murder was definitely linked to gang violence.
“The persons who are deceased were from the Port of Spain area and the information coming to hand is that they were returning from some party at the Brian Lara Stadium and then they were in fact intercepted by another vehicle.
The incident caused a major traffic jam on both sides of the highway as drivers slowed down to take in the scene. Some even parked on the side of the highway and got out to get a closer look.
Jacob confirmed that “important and vital information (has) come to hand, which means we can in fact, solve this double murder.
“We have enough murder in this country. Not only today, but generally. I understand earlier this morning we had a double murder in the northern division which again, is directly linked to gang violence and was a reprisal for some situation that occurred two weeks ago.”
He praised Southern Division police for their hard work, noting that officers were in an intelligence meeting dealing with a double murder in St Mary’s Village, Moruga, when they had to rush to Tarouba to process the double murder scene.
“It is tough for the officers and we want to provide them with all the necessary support that is needed so that we can bring some measure of closure.”
He assured the public “that the TTPS as a whole will in fact bring this situation to some level of normalcy.”
He said the key to dealing with gang violence is to make arrests, lay charges, place them before the courts and count on the accused being imprisoned for their crimes. Ensuring convictions in court were of great importance, he added, “because we believe that is the only solution.”
He bemoaned, however, that the anti-gang legislation was weak when it came to assisting in dismantling gangs.
“It is what we have and would put it to maximum use to ensure we can in fact get something out of it in order to deal with gangs,” he said.
He said intelligence units are working to help investigators to get rid of the scourge and believes it is only a matter of time before “we will get on top of our game with the gang and gang activities.”
Alluding to ongoing exercises to remove illegal gunsfrom the streets as being equally important in the police’s fight against crime, Jacob admitted that the 315 weapons confiscated so far this year were not sufficient.
He said more needs to be done and gang intelligence units and satellite units have been set up in each police division, with officers actively working to dismantle gangs.
“When we deal with human trafficking, we also deal with gun-running and also with drugs and guns. Within the last year or so we have arrested some gang members, so we are making inroads,” Jacob said.
6 KILLED IN 24 HOURS
* Enrique “SpongeBob” Gill and another unidentified victim – shot dead in Tarouba on Monday.
* Hezikyah Marcelle, 19,– shot dead in St James on Sunday night.
* Tureek Raymond & Gerome Fernandez – gunned down at a house in Malabar on Monday
* Jaffett Williams – gunned down while liming in California, Central Trinidad on Monday.