Sun, Oct

Gun-shot fired; T&T player Mollon escape's death.

I dodged bullets.

AKHEELA MOLLON, 30, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s leading women footballers was yesterday thanking God Almighty for sparing her life as she literally dodged bullets after unwittingly driving into a shootout between rival gangsters in Longdenville, central Trinidad on Tuesday night.

Mollon who is the only T&T female footballer to play professionally overseas, plying her trade in Sweden, narrowly missed being badly injured or killed as bullets penetrated the front and back windscreens of her car as she drove along Lamont Street en route to her home.

The lithe sportswoman, who is now campaigning in the inaugural T&T Women’s Premier League for Team Rush, had just stepped out of her car to open the gate so as to reverse into her yard when she heard rapid gunfire.

She was pulled to safety by her mother Wilma Mollon, 51, as bullets whizzed by. The elder Mollon was at the time standing at a door to the house when the shooting began. Her daughter’s car, which was riddled with bullets, was left with the engine idling on the roadway outside the house.

One of the bullets entered through the back windscreen of Mollon’s silver Nissan Primera car, penetrating the driver’s seat and exiting through the front windscreen. Mollon sat on that very seat seconds earlier. A total of seven bullet holes were on the body of the vehicle with two holes in the back windscreen.

The traumatised athlete, who sat down for an interview at home yesterday, said she had not eaten anything since the incident although she was due to lace up her football boots for a game later in the evening.

“To tell you the truth, it is an act of God that I am sitting here with you alive and speaking about that incident. Bullets don’t have eyes and if you look at where the bullets passed, I could have easily been shot in the head. I could have been dead...without a doubt I could have been dead had it not been for divine intervention,” Mollon said.

This was the first time in six years that Mollon has been home in Trinidad around this time of the year and she said she never witnessed anything like what transpired on Tuesday night.

A police report stated that at about nine o’ clock on Tuesday night, Mollon left her vehicle on the road and went to open the gate when she heard several loud gunshots and was pulled into her home by her mother. Even as mother and daughter ran towards the house, bullets continued being fired at the car which was in the same direction of the fleeing duo.

Officers of the Central Division Task Force arrived on the scene and carried out investigations. Mollon’s car was later impounded by police.

She recalled what happened on Tuesday night after returning home from football training.

“What I normally do is reverse the car into the yard and as usual I left the car idling in the road and went to the gate to open it. All of a sudden I heard, ‘pax, pax, pax, pax, pax,’ lots of bullets and I heard my mother shouting as she opened the door.”

“I just dived towards the door and started to crawl as I made my way inside. I can’t describe anything or how many shots or how loud... it was just massive. I just crawled and my mother held my hand and pulled me in and we dropped to the ground and then locked the front door.”

Still shaking her head in disbelief, Mollon went on to tell Newsday, “If my mother didn’t open that door, I was heading back to that car to reverse it in the yard. Those bullets could have smashed into my head.”

She spoke of her strong spirituality as she explained that it could have only been divine intervention that her mother was at home and at the door awaiting her return. The elder Mollon was laid low by a toothache and she decided to stay at home at the time that her daughter arrived.

“It has to be God,” Mollon insisted. “Mere minutes before I was calling my mom and wasn’t getting through. I wanted to tell her to open the gate. When the shooting started, she just happened to open the door and pulled me inside.”

The footballer said while they were locked inside the house, they remained flat on the floor awaiting the arrival of the police. She did not see who fired the gunshots. Mollon said she was left dazed when she later saw the damage to her car.

“When I saw my car I wanted to collapse. The last time I felt so, although this feeling is much worse, was when we lost that match to Ecuador (a World Cup qualifying match). I remember I passed out on the playing field. I was in shock you know,” Mollon said. Her mother also spoke to Newsday and she too was thankful that her daughter’s life had been spared.

A shaken Mollon said, “my daughter would have been killed for nothing. That shooting had nothing to do with her or us. My daughter was coming home from training.” Saying it was a mother’s intuition that made her leave the bed where she had been sitting and go to the window when she realised that her daughter had not arrived home as yet.

“I said I better go by the door and wait for her and when I see the car I will go and open the gate for her,” Wilma told Newsday. “All I could tell you is if Akheela had only gone back into that car, she would have been killed... I would have been talking to you about my daughter in the past tense,” Mollon said.

She said the area is usually very peaceful and her family has never experienced anything like that before. A senior police officer, contacted for comment, said it seems a war between rival gangsters may have spilled over into the quiet, residential area of Longdenville.

The officer said rival gangs based in Bhagaloo and Crown Trace, Enterprise, Chaguanas, took their blood feud to Longdenville on Tuesday night. The police source said that Mollon’s car may have been targetted out of mistaken identity as members of one gang may have mistaken it as the “getaway car” belonging to members of another gang.

Up to press time, no arrest was made. Head of Central Division Snr Supt Johnny Abraham last night in a television news interview vowed to clamp down on the gang violence and general lawlessness which saw several other shooting incidents in central Trinidad within the past 24 hours.

National women's footballer caught in gunfire between rival gangs.
By Susan Mohammed (T&T Express)


NATIONAL women's footballer Ahkeela Mollon survived a hail of bullets that smashed the windscreen of her car parked outside the family home on Tuesday, after she was caught in cross-fire between rival gangs.

The 30-year-old mid-fielder and striker was pulled to safety by her mother and hid from gunmen as they fired.

Mollen was thanking God for life: "I am still in shock. The shots were spot-on on my car. I am so thankful to God. He is the only one that made by mom open that door at that time. If this had gone another way, my mother would have been crying today".

The incident occured at around 9.10 p.m. when Mollon, who is also known as "Lady Latapy", pulled up to her home at La Monte Street, Longdenville.

She was returning home from training with her team CNGC Rush, of the Women's Premier League.

Mollon had opened her gate to reverse her Nissan Primera when she heard loud explosions.

"As I pushed the gate I started to hear bullets going off. I didn't know from what direction it was coming. At the same time my mom opened the door", she recalled. "We just backpedalled into the house and we fell to the ground. We lay there for about 20 minutes. We were hearing footsteps in the road for a while. The timing of everything was just too precise". 

They contacted police and officers responded to the scene.

Mollon said her car bore several bullet holes, with two each on the front and back windscreen.

"It was an execution style shooting", said the national footballer.

Police said they had also received a report earlier of a shooting incident outside the home of police corporal Anthony Burns of the Rapid Response Unit who also lives nearby.

Police said that the suspects who shot at the police officer's house were attemping to enter their get-away car, when another gang of men began shooting at them.

The second gang shot at Mollon's car, believing it to be the getaway car, police said.

Mollon said: "I have never experienced this kind of thing before in Longdenville. I have lived here all my life, and I never know here to have gangs. This area has always been peaceful". 

She said she intended to play last night with her team against Petrotrin Oilers at the St James Barracks in the second game of the Women's Premier League.

There have been no arrests in the incident.