By Sue-Ann Wayow
THREE men who allegedly shot at police officers were killed during the shoot-outs in separate incidents.
In the first incident, police reported that at 3.50 am on Wednesday, officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF), proceeded to the La Sargesse Road, Gasparillo, Santa Cruz area, to conduct an operation.
Upon reaching the area, the officers went to a small wooden structure in search of a suspect who had evaded police capture on October 2.
During the October 2 incident, police officers recovered two high-powered rifles and secured warrants for the suspect’s arrest for possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The search for the man led officers to the wooden structure where they found three occupants lying on a mattress.
Police ordered the occupants to show their hands and to stand up, a woman, with a baby responded to the instructions and was ushered out of the room.
The officers then repeated the order for the man to show his hands and to stand up. He refused and allegedly drew a silver metal pistol from under him, and pointed and discharged it in the direction of the officers.
The officers in keeping with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s (TTPS) Use of Force Policy responded and discharged their TTPS-issued firearms at the suspect, a release from the police stated.
The firearm was recovered.
The man, who was hit several times about his body, was rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
In the other incident, two police officers were shot at in Chaguanas during a shootout with two men who were fatally wounded.
According to reports, around 4.30 pm on Wednesday, members of the Central Division Gang and Intelligence Unit, acting on information, executed a search warrant at a two-storey building located on John Street, Chaguanas.
During the search, the police officers were confronted by two men who opened fire on them. The officers returned fire, fatally wounding the two men. One of the police officers was shot in his chest. Two firearms, belonging to the dead men, were recovered.
One of the dead men was identified as Joel Ramsundar, an active member of the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service, and Aleandro Gomez, a national of Venezuela. Ramsundar was last posted to the Maximum Security Prison.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, has taken note of the increase in the number of police-involved shootings which is equivalent to police being shot at every six days.
The top cop said every incident will be investigated by the TTPS and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to determine if the minimum use of force was used.
He added that during the last two years, there were 131 incidents where police officers were shot at, with six officers, including the two on Thursday, being wounded.
That is equivalent to one police officer being shot at every six days, he said.
Griffith said Thursday’s incident and many others showed the danger the police face in the line of duty and was thankful that no police officer has been killed in the line of duty for some time.
He said, “It is obvious that when these persons shoot at the police, we will return fire. And because we are more highly trained, there is always the likelihood that some of these persons will be killed. If there is an increase in shootings at the police, it is very possible that more persons will be shot.”