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Off-duty cop kills one, injures another

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Allister Thomas

The family of a 24-year-old man who was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer during an altercation near a Moruga bar yesterday morning is calling for an investigation. Relatives are claiming that Miguel Rodriguez was running away when he was shot, while the police officer is claiming that he was attacked by Rodriguez and his brother Saran Thomas, 29, who was injured in the melee.

This incident comes less than 48 hours after the police shot and killed Paul Marchan, 30, a mentally ill patient, after he reportedly attacked a family member and tried to stab two police officers at Richplain, Diego Martin.

According to police reports, around 2.30 am yesterday, an off-duty special branch policeman attached to Prime Minister’s escort, was liming at a bar when he got into an altercation with Rodriguez and another man. The men, the report alleged, began beating the officer who became fearful for his life and discharged his gun.

Rodriguez, a lorry loader at the San Fernando City Corporation, died at the San Fernando General Hospital while his brother, who was shot on his arm, remained warded in a stable condition up to late yesterday.

Speaking at his Fifth Company, Moruga, home, Allister Thomas, 28, who witnessed the

shooting incident, said he and his brothers were liming on the road.

He said Rodriguez, who had been drinking, mistakenly took a car for his friend’s car in which he had left his bag. When Rodriguez realised the door was locked, Thomas said, he began hitting the glass and was asking loudly for his bag. He said that triggered the entire incident because the car either belonged to the policeman or his relative. The officer, who was dressed in a three quarter pants and jersey, came from inside the bar. Thomas said Rodriguez and the policeman got into a heated argument and when he (Thomas) tried to part them, the policeman collared him and allegedly whipped out his gun.

During the melee, he said, the officer pushed Rodriguez and Rodriguez slapped the officer. “Like he did not like how he get slap in front of everybody. The officer shoot and I just push my brothers away. He (Rodriguez) hear the first shot and he run and my next brother get shoot in his hand.”

Thomas said his brother was shot about eight times. “I was shouting call an ambulance and people were laughing. My brother was bawling in pain. He tell me ‘don’t leave me, stay with me.’”

Thomas claimed the officer never identified himself as a policeman. When the other police officers arrived, he said they took his brother to the hospital in the police vehicle. He said the officer who shot Rodriguez was allowed to leave, but he returned 20 minutes later.

Rodriguez’s father, Patrick Wickham, called for justice. “He was my nicest son. He was a real loving person, a girls man. We want to see justice, but I know we will not get no justice. This going to dead just like how he dead,” said the father of ten. An autopsy is expected to be performed tomorrow at the Forensic Science Centre in Port-of-Spain. Moruga police are investigating.

Claxton Bay man shot in head

A young man was shot twice in the head after being chased by two gunmen in Claxton Bay yesterday morning. Hours later, Keith Francis, 20, succumbed to his injuries at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope.

According to a police report, around 10 am, Francis was at his workplace at a scrap iron yard near Lodge Road when he was accosted by the two men. He ran onto the main road while being chased by the gunmen, who followed him into a resident’s yard where they shot him twice in the head.

When the Guardian visited his home, no one was there as they had all gone to the hospital. San Fernando

Homicide Bureau detectives are investigating.


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