T&T cop fatally shot in fight with bandit

(Trinidad Express) Police sergeant Hayden Manwaring, who died after being shot with his own gun during a fight with a robbery suspect on Tuesday, was remembered yesterday as a dedicated crime fighter and a gentleman.

Manwaring, 43, was described by colleagues as a man of integrity who treated criminal suspects with respect and crime victims with empathy.

Hayden Manwaring
Hayden Manwaring

Manwaring, whose duty was to supervise other officers, still continued to take the lead when crimes were reported, the Express was told.

And despite holding the volatile position of warrant officer at the San Fernando CID for several years, he did his job without fear or favour, colleagues said.

In his hometown of George Village in Tableland, relatives yesterday described Manwaring as a people person who wanted to reform the criminals he arrested instead of punish them.

Manwaring was not wearing his bulletproof vest when he responded to a robbery at a fast food outlet at Cipero Street, San Fernando, on Tuesday afternoon.

The four criminal suspects were cornered near the National Academy for the Performing Arts South Campus, and it was there that Manwaring and Detective Constable Nicholas Phillip were shot.

Manwaring died at the Intensive Care Unit of the San Fernando General Hospital on Tuesday night from massive blood loss despite a three-hour operation performed by two surgeons.

He was the seventh police officer to die in the line of duty since 2002.

Police prosecutor Cleyon Seedan said Manwaring was a good officer.

“He was a decent guy who knew how to deal with people. As the saying goes, nothing good lasts forever,” he said.

Manwaring recently testified in the case against Jason Edwards, the lone defendant still before the court charged with being a gang member after his arrest in the 2011 state of emergency.

Manwaring was the officer who charged Edwards.

Manwaring also had pending cases where he had charged defendants with kidnapping, robbery, possession of arms and ammunition and larceny.

The Express was told other detectives have been assigned the cases. Sgt Marlon Bruce said Manwaring had a matter of larceny of a motor vehicle in the Fifth Court on Monday.

“Fighting crime was his passion. I can’t believe he has passed on under these circumstances. He was a dear and genuine friend. He was a hardworking, conscientious, trust worthy confidant,” said Bruce.

Prosecutor Ramdath Phillip said, “He was one of the best and hard working, not only professionally but also personally. He was an approachable person, too.”

Sixth Court police prosecutor Sergeant Gordon Maharaj described Manwaring as a dedicated officer who always attended court for his matters.

“One of his strengths was his relationship with people. He had a way he used to relate to them, both members of the public and the police. He was genuine and hardworking,” he said.

Chairman of the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority Chateram Sinanan said Manwaring was a kindhearted man.

“He was always willing to help attorneys and litigants. He will be greatly missed by all in the legal profession,” Sinanan said.

President of the Assembly of Southern Lawyers Dexter Bailey said, “Manwaring was one of the police officers who felt the drive and desire to clear the southern area of criminal elements. He went beyond the call of duty; and the mantra that police officers are never off-duty, he took this seriously.”

Bailey said the criminals have been showing no regard to human life, authority or the consequences of their actions, and the crime situation was spiralling out of control.

Bailey also wished constable Nicholas Phillip a speedy recovery.

Manwaring’s cousin, Karen Ramdass, said: “He was a counsellor more than a police officer. He didn’t want to punish criminals, he wanted to reform them. Even a criminal would love him.”

Ramdass was among several relatives who gathered at Manwaring’s family’s home in George Village yesterday. She said the Police Service had lost a good man.

“To me, he was one of the greatest men. There is nothing that anyone can say or do that would compensate for the loss of this life,” she said.

Manwaring’s sister, Nadine Thomassian, said her brother wanted to make a difference. She recalled that as a child he was an athlete, a boxer and enjoyed extempo.

“He ran marathons and, as time went by, he decided to join the Police Service. I don’t know what inspired him, but he was a committed police officer. We always knew his job was dangerous, but we never expected to get that call we got yesterday,” she said.

Manwaring married his sweetheart, Kim, and together they had two children—Kaddeal, 16, and Kyla, eight.

The couple moved to Emerald Drive, Roystonia, Couva, after the birth of their first child.

“But he kept close to his family. We are five siblings and were always very close. He called here this weekend and asked about our plans for this weekend,” Thomassian said.

His cousin, Carl Ragbir, said Manwaring was ambitious.

“He joined the service about 18 years ago and reached the rank of sergeant quickly. I know he was ready to apply for inspector. He was never afraid to perform his duty,” he said.

Manwaring’s wife was unable to speak about her husband’s death yesterday.

She returned to their Couva home following the autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, around 3 p.m. “She could not even view the body. She is distraught and cannot speak with the media at this time,” a relative said.

 

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