Relatives of three killed by police: They were good boys

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Nicole Richards, mother of Fabien Richards, and Michelle John, grandmother of Isaiah Roberts, speak with reporters at the Forensic Science Centre in St James on Monday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Relatives of three people who were shot dead by police on Saturday morning are insisting their relatives were innocent.

They intend to file a formal report with the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

Leonardo Williams, 17, Isaiah Roberts, 17, and Fabien Richards, 21, were shot and killed in downtown Port of Spain.

Police said in a news release, officers of the Western Division received a stolen-car report and followed the men into Port of Spain where they tried to intercept them. They said, during the chase the car tried to turn south onto Chacon Street and crashed into the wall of Republic Bank at the corner of Independence Square.

It was reported that officers of the Guard and Emergency Branch, who also chased the car, were shot at and police returned fire hitting the occupants.

Williams, Roberts and Richards died at the scene. A 15-year-old boy was wounded in the shooting.

Police said a Smith and Wesson pistol was found and seized.

Speaking with reporters at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Monday, Williams’ mother Lucky Joseph said she was deeply hurt and confused over the circumstances surrounding her son’s death. She maintained Williams was an honest child and was expected to collect his first identification card on Monday to enrol in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

“He sold cigarettes to support himself, from a little bag he carries around. He is a special child, he doesn’t rob or thief.

“My son left with some friends, they went to one of the friend’s girlfriend’s birthday party.

“The friend’s girlfriend told me they left to get something to eat.

“The girls were in a different car behind and were going to KFC to get something to eat, and after that I got the news that the police killed my son.

“They saw the police following them. I don’t know if they panicked or what happened, but all we heard was the police began shooting at them from by the lighthouse, because you know you’ll hear different stories, and they got them between two police jeeps behind.”

Asked whether she would be filing a complaint with the PCA, Joseph said she was focusing on making arrangements for her son’s funeral and would make a decision after that.

Newsday also spoke to Nicole Richards, the mother of Fabien Richards, who said she intended to visit the PCA’s office after leaving the Forensic Science Centre on Monday.

“We have to get justice. We’re not making any joke about this.”

Lucky Joseph, mother of Leonardo Williams, at the Forensic Science Centre, St James on Monday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Relatives said Richards was expected to go to New York on Wednesday to meet relatives, and attended the party on Friday as his last chance to socialise with friends before leaving.

Michelle John, Roberts’ grandmother who was also at the Forensic Science Centre on Monday, said she warned the boys repeatedly about the dangers of the outside world and did her best to protect them.

She said Roberts and his friends were in the habit of calling her whenever they got to their destination and when they were on their way back home, but her suspicions were aroused when she did not get a call from them on Saturday morning.

“They always do that. They call to say ‘Mummy we reach eh.’ They always call me when they reach.

“When I saw a certain time passed and they didn’t call, I called them. I protect my children. They are baptised – all of them – and it’s not to say they do wrong, they are good boys.

“Why did they have to take these young men’s lives like that – treating them like dogs and criminals? They are not criminals. They were young people who know about God.”

Police from the Port of Spain Division are continuing investigations into the incident.

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