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Gang and drug killings fuel record 606 toll

A TOTAL of 636 homicides were recorded in 2022.

This is confirmed from statistics obtained by the Sunday Express from the T&T Police Service (TTPS) Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA).

However, from this number, 35 have not been classed as murders.

Homicides refer to the killing of one human being by another.

It is a general term, and can refer to a non-criminal act as well as the criminal act of murder.

Non-criminal acts include justifiable or excusable incidents such as self-defence, or in the prevention of another individual committing a serious felony.

Murders, in criminal law, are defined as the unjustified, premeditated killing of one person by another.

The Express was told that, in 2022, there were five incidents in which determinations were made that killings were as a result of manslaughter; 11 incidents in which inquests were ordered into killings; and 19 which were unclassified up to yesterday.

Of the 606 murders reported in 2022, 241 persons, including ten women, were killed as a result of gang violence.

Police said 94 persons, including six women, were killed as a result of drug-related incidents; 79 people as a result of revenge; 52 in robberies; 46 for unknown motives; 43 in altercations; 23 persons as a result of domestic violence; eight people were killed from domestic violence in a relationship; eight were killed as a result of property disputes; and one person was killed from a domestic altercation.

Multiple casualties

Last year, part of the reasons for the increased homicide numbers was the type of weaponry being utilised.

As of December 1, out of 39 reports of shootings, 129 persons had been hit, 93 of whom had been murdered.

This means that there was an increase in the number of incidents of multiple casualties with at least 24 double murders for the year, four triple murders, and two quadruple murders.

However, balancing that, for the same period, the TTPS solved 115 murders.

This was the highest number of solved crimes in the country's history, as the highest number of solved homicide cases prior to, was 108 for the entire year. The two quadruple murders were reported in Maracas, and in Diego Martin. On October 23, a threeyear- old child was among four persons who were shot dead in Diego Martin - Nazim Owen, 3, Chelsea Julien, 28, Marcus Noel, 22, and Akil Keron.

Two others were also shot in this incident.

The second quadruple murder event took place on July 2 along Damien Bay off the North Coast Road in which four persons were shot dead: construction worker and part-time PH driver Kevon 'Mincie' Andrews, Keron Pope, 32, Carlton Campbell, 22, and Elijah Torrell, 18. Andrews had been hired to drive the other three victims around the community.

Four triple murders

The four triple murders included the killing of three men in Sangre Grande on January 13: Hayden Sanchez, 26, Terrance Nixon, 29, and Jhermarc Quashie, 25.

Police said the vehicle was ambushed by gunmen using high-powered rifles.

Another incident took place on February 15, when a 15-year-old school boy was among three people shot and killed along Cemetery Street in Diego Martin.

The deceased included Kevin Kyle Spring, 15, his Uncle Joseph Spring, 36 and Rondell John, 33 of Waterman Road, Belmont. A fourth man, Orawle Spring, 58 was also shot but he survived.

On November 29, three men were shot dead on Sapodilla Trace in Laventille: Cody Pierre, 23, of Maplands, Laventille; Jevon George, 23, of Sapodilla Trace, Laventille; and Alex Morton of Redhill, Morvant.

The fourth triple murder took place in Maraval.

The bodies of Ako Matthew, 34, Robin Sancho Jr., 21, and Alexsia Edwards, 21, all of Diego Martin, were discovered between Monday April 25 and 26 at North Coast Road, Maraval. The three had been missing for several days prior to their bodies being found.

Kwasi Matthew, 37, of Blue Basin, surrendered to the police in connection with their killings within days of the bodies being discovered.

Deadly Pennywise heist

Out of the two dozen double homicides reported last year, none shook the country more than the killing of security guards Jerry Stuart and Jeffery Peters in September during a robbery at Pennywise Plaza in San Fernando.

A third security guard, Peola Baptiste, was also injured and survived.

On the afternoon of September 19, the three security guards were exiting the plaza with money representing sales from the company when they were ambushed by a group of masked men.

The incident was recorded on CCTV cameras near the building.

The suspects were armed with handguns and rifles and shot at the guards.

The guards in turn returned fire, however, they were hit several times.

The gunmen grabbed the bags of cash before escaping in a waiting Nissan Sylphy, which then drove onto South Trunk Road.

Peters died at the scene, while Stuart and Baptiste were rushed for medical attention.

Stuart died while undergoing treatment, while Baptiste was transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex due to the severity of her injuries.

Police then received intelligence which led them to a home along Jones Street, off Windsor Street in La Romaine.

There they found four of the suspects attempting to evade the law.

The suspects opened fire on the policemen, and the officers returned fire.

The four men were all fatally shot and died at the scene.

The deceased are Kyle Ramdhan, Keyon Ramdhan, and Greg Dodough, all of Delhi Road, Fyzabad; and Deaundre Montrose. They were said to be in their 20s.

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