Noah Simmons got up on his 16th birthday today, stepped outside his home, and was shot dead.
The killing happened in a squatting settlement along an old train line at Union Park East Marabella at around 8a.m.
Simmons was a fourth form pupil of the Shiva Boys College at Clarke Road Penal, and a member of the school's successful football team.
He played in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Under 16 competition in 2017 and was a member of the school's Under 14 SSFL national championship team.
However, the Express was told he had only attended school a few times since the start of the new term because of the family's financial difficulties.
Simmons and his brother lived with their grandmother Lystra Simmons.
She told the Express that he got out of bed at around 8a.m and she wished him a happy birthday.
The grandmother said Simmons went out the front door and sat on the steps.
There was an explosion and when the woman checked, Simmons was found bleeding from a wound to the chest.
The Express was told that Simmons frequent visited the Marabella Family Crisis Centre located nearby and was there up to 9p.m on Monday.
Family say he was also attempting to raise funds to go to Brazil as part of a football team.
There was no immediate motive for the killing.
SOURCE: Trinidad and Tobago Express
Boy, 16, killed for speaking with girl.
By Sharlene Rampersad (Newsday).
DEATH OVER SMALL TALK
EAGER to play football as he celebrated his 16th birthday yesterday, Noah Simmons woke up early and went across to his cousin’s house for a cup of tea.
It was there a man met him shortly after 8am and warned him to stop speaking to a girl from the community.
Noah, a Form Four student of the Shiva Boys’ Hindu College, told the man, “It’s not that serious, I talk to everybody.”
In response, the man pulled out a gun, told Noah, “Yuh want to see how serious it is?” and shot him dead.
The man then casually walked off, firing off two more rounds before he disappeared on the Line in Marabella.
The exchange was heard by several eyewitnesses who reported seeing the man walking away from Noah’s body. One eyewitness told the Newsday the man made no attempt to hide the gun used in the murder.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the eyewitness said Noah’s murder stemmed from jealousy.
“Them other boys don’t go to school or do anything with their life and Noah was going to a good school, he was playing football and because he was a good-looking boy, plenty girls used to talk to him,” the witness said. “The girl he get kill for used to pass and hail him out sometimes. He was never in anything with the girl.
“He kill the boy over stupidness, he was jealous of Noah.”
Noah’s grandmother Lystra Simmons told Newsday she was in her kitchen when she heard the first gunshot.
She said she and her family have lived in Union Park East, Gopaul Circular Drive, Marabella, for 40 years.
“I woke up this morning, told Noah, ‘Happy birthday,’ and he told me he was going to the Crisis Centre to play football today,” Simmons recalled. “He said he was going by his cousin for a cup of tea, and I told him okay.”
Minutes later, she heard the gunshot, saw Noah slumped on the staircase through a window, and ran outside.
As she watched undertakers remove Noah’s body, a trembling Simmons said too many young men in the community are turning to guns.
“They fire off shots all hours of the day and night like it is some kind of game. I ask someone the other day if they trying to shoot the moon out of the sky. It didn’t have any reason for him to shoot my grandson. Noah never interfere with anybody.”
Noah’s parents were both in Tobago yesterday and Simmons said his mother was preparing to come home.
The second of eight children, he was remembered as a loving, joyful child. Simmons said he played football for his school and the Marabella Family Crisis Centre.
Simmons said her son, Damien Simmons, was also gunned down on his birthday, January 30, 2017.
Insp Don Gajadhar and other homicide officers visited. Gajadhar said police were told Noah was killed over a girl, and investigators were searching for a suspect from the area who is believed to be in his late teens.
Police found three spent shells at the scene.
Noah’s body was taken to the Forensic Science Centre, where an autopsy is expected to be done today.
Footballer killed on 16th birthday
By Kevon Felmine (T&T Guardian)
Shiva Boys Hindu College footballer Noah Simmons had planned to spend his birthday at the Marabella Family Crisis Centre, where he and the forgotten youths of the old train line community sought refuge from crime and the hardship of poverty.
But with an upsurge of guns in the hands of youths in the slums of Union Park East, Marabella, he did not get to celebrate his 16th birthday as he was allegedly shot dead by a friend.
For Simmons’ family, however, it was deja vu, as his uncle Damian Simmons was also gunned down on his birthday in January 2017. Simmons’ 17-year-old brother was also shot in the shin on his birthday last October.
Standing at the scene of his brother’s murder, Simmons’ surviving brother, whose name is being withheld for his safety, told the T&T Guardian the same friend who shot Simmons also shot him for no reason. Still rattled by the trauma of that event, the teen said his brother’s killer boasted to him of taking a life.
“He (killer) walked up by my house and fired shots in the air and when I ran outside, he came up and told me that he just shot my brother. I ran down here and saw my brother stretched out on the step, dead,” the teen said.
Police said around 8 am, Simmons was sitting at the front of his cousin’s home when the suspect came up to him. It is believed that old talk turned into an argument and the suspect shot him in the right side of his chest and walked off. As the suspect walked away, he fired a few more shots in the air. Investigators were told Simmons had been holding the gun mere seconds before he was killed with it.
Last December, Simmons’ cousin, Isaiah Simmons, 15, was killed in a shootout with police after he and two others robbed a house in the area. During that shootout, PC Anand Ram was also shot.
Simmons’ grandmother Lystra Simmons told the T&T Guardian that he woke up around 6 am and went to his cousin’s home next door to have breakfast. After eating, Lystra said he sat at the front door and the suspect came and started a casual conversation.
Lystra was at home when gunshots rang out but didn’t think her grandson had been killed. Like many of the concerned residents in the community, she said there had been an increase of “trigger happy” young men with guns, who would walk along the road firing shots in the air.
Simmons also played football with the Marabella Family Crisis Centre and was expected to spend some time there with his friends. CEO Terrence Bossiere said they had planned a surprise, but while waiting for Simmons he got a text message saying the teen had been killed.
“Noah lived between here and his grandmother’s home. Youths in the community, like everywhere else, need that guidance and there are those who listen and come to our empowerment programme, which we use as a vehicle against drugs and social ills,” Bossier said.
A member said the centre served as a refuge for several youths of the area, as they would be fed and given a place to sleep whenever they needed. Saying the youth were interested in living good and honest lives, the members said it was a constant battle to keep them away from guns, drugs and the thugs in the area.
Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee said he met Simmons while campaigning in 2015 and was saddened another life was lost to gun violence.
Lee said: “After I became MP I would always see him and kept talking to him to stay focused on his dream of becoming a successful footballer. I was happy when he was transferred to Shiva Boys’ College to play football for that school.
“Whatever was the circumstances of his killing I am sad, as another young life has been lost to the gunman! Where are we going as a society? I am at a lost for words.”
Police have identified the suspect but said they have also been searching for him for weeks in relation to other gun offences. But residents said the suspect lives in Ste Madeleine and frequents their area because he has a girlfriend there. However, they said his life took a turn for the worse in 2009 when his mother, a state witness, was abducted while leaving a San Fernando nightclub and murdered. She had been under police protection at a safe house in Tobago but left on a flight to Trinidad to attend a party.