Mon, May


THE murder toll climbed to 46 yesterday, following the shooting deaths of four men in separate incidents between Sunday and yesterday in Arima, Barataria and Cocorite.

The victims have been identified as Muatah Taylor, 20, of Harding Place, Cocorite; Wendell Joseph, 23, of Old St Joseph Road Plannings, Port of Spain; Vincent Bissessar, 19, of Blanchissuese Road, Arima; and William Villafana, 46.

In the first incident, Taylor, who was shot in the head while seated in a vehicle near his Cocorite home on Sunday, succumbed to his injuries at the Port of Spain General Hospital later that day.

The victim, who was a former Mucurapo East Secondary School and national footballer, was ambushed by two men as he and two other friends were in the vehicle on their way home around 9.30 a.m. His friends were not injured.

At the time of the incident, the trio had returned from a boat cruise from Down the Islands. During the cruise, police said, Taylor got into an argument with the suspects over a woman.

Sgt Michael Veronique of the Region I Homicide Bureau of Investigations is probing the matter.

In the second incident, Joseph, a pannist, was shot once in the head while seated in the driver's seat of a vehicle at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street in Barataria, opposite the Barataria Anglican Primary School, shortly after 11 p.m.

Police said he was going home from pan practice when he told a female friend in the vehicle with him that he wanted to speak with her. As Taylor reclined in the driver's seat, three men approached the vehicle and one of them opened fire on him. The men then escaped.

Cpl Darryl La Pierre and officers from the North Eastern Division Task Force responded to the shooting and took Taylor to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope where he was pronounced dead.

A motive has not yet been established for the incident.

Cpls Taylor, Arcia and PCs Mohammed WPC Brittan-Lawrence visited the scene and are continuing investigations.

Meanwhile, officers of the Region II Homicide Bureau of Investigations have detained a father and son in connection with Bissessar's murder, which occurred at the four-and-a-half-mile mark on Blanchissuese Road in Arima.

Around 11.30 p.m., the victim and other relatives were walking along the road near his home when a vehicle pulled alongside them, police said. Three suspects emerged from the car and opened fire on Bissessar, who ran into nearby bushes. A check was later made and he was discovered dead.

A report was subsequently made to the police and officers from the Arima CID and the Region II Homicide Bureau visited the scene and started enquiries.

Police believe the killing may have stemmed from an incident in which Bissessar had an altercation with the suspects. PC Herbie Francis is investigating.