The family of murdered cosmologist Asmini Harriram is living on edge as they wonder whether her killer will ever be brought to justice.
“Ah very scared. Vehicle does be stappin, stappin hey…. The person who do this still out there and now you hearing all kina thing,” Khemwattie Samaroo, the mother of the dead girl, said amidst tears yesterday.
Struggling to remain composed, the woman explained that cars have been suspiciously stopping on the Lusignan Railway Embankment road near her home. She said that in one case, a car stopped near her home for a few minutes before driving off. The vehicle stopped a short distance away and the driver came out. She said that the man lifted his bonnet and operated as though something was wrong with the vehicle. She said that she is not convinced that the vehicle had a problem.
Samaroo stated that nights are the most terrifying time for her and on one occasion she made contact with the police who sent a patrol to the area. She said that the patrol did not stop by her home but rather they drove past.
She called on the relevant authorities to either put an outpost in the area or install street lights on the roadway, which is very dark at night.
“I still scared because de bady who do this still out there,” she said while adding that persons who walk along the roadway during the wee hours are not pounced upon but her daughter who was walking on the roadway during the daytime was attacked and shot dead. “How could that be?” she asked.
She said that given the amount of time that has passed she is now frustrated at the police’s inability to get a breakthrough in their investigations and to put the person responsible before the court. She said she has heard nothing more from the police since her daughter was shot dead and is now questioning if justice will be served.
An eyewitness had recounted that Harriram, 18, and her cousin were heading east along the Lusignan Railway Embankment when a burgundy coloured car passed them and stopped. The car was heading in the same direction. That would have been on July 10.
The eyewitness said it appeared as though the teen was on her cellular phone and as she approached the now stationary vehicle, a man got out of the passenger front seat. “He walk up to she [Harriram] snatch she phone and he go back to de car but he ain’t jump in. He turn back, tek three step, point he gun underneath hay [pointing to below the chin] and shoot.” According to the eyewitness the man then calmly walked back to the vehicle and got in. The vehicle then drove off, but not at a speed, the eyewitness related. However, Harriram’s cousin, Fiona, who was accompanying her when the shooting occurred, said, “this man come out jus suh with a gun and go straight to she and just grabble she phone and shoot she.” She had said she was unsure how many other persons were in the car; she only saw the gunman, who was holding a “small gun.” She said she was so shocked that she didn’t pay much attention to the man or the car as it drove away.
Samaroo said she could not understand how a man who had been positively identified by a young woman as the man in a burgundy coloured car who had attacked her seconds before Harriram was shot had been released. It was explained to this newspaper that the woman was walking on the Lusignan main road near a Chinese restaurant when a car drove up alongside her and a man instructed her to get into it. Samaroo, relating what had been told to her, said that the woman refused and the man subsequently told her that he liked her phone and he wanted it and he cranked his gun at her. It was around this same time that the man’s phone rang and the car sped off with him inside. Seconds later a gunshot was heard.
The eyewitness said it was hard to tell if any words were exchanged between Harriram and the assailant.
Samaroo told Stabroek News that the woman had related that she ran into the Chinese restaurant after the episode and at that same time a police vehicle pulled up. She said the woman related what had transpired but the police apparently took some time to react to this information.
The grief stricken mother is adamant that had the police responded quicker, the killer might have been caught.
Police had detained a taxi driver. Based on information received, ranks found a burgundy coloured car that the man drove at a mechanic shop. Apparently persons became suspicious after the man began driving a different car. He suddenly returned the vehicle to its owner, saying that it had some mechanical problem. He never returned for it.
Samaroo told Stabroek News that the woman positively identified this man at an identification parade as the person who had held her at gunpoint. Fiona was unable to identify him.
Samaroo questioned why the man was released when he was positively identified. “Police coulda hole on to he lil mo. They shoulda investigate this thing good. Why they loose de man and she said that the man had a gun?” she questioned.
Asked again whether there might have been another motive besides robbery that could have led to Harriram’s death, the woman said that she was unsure because to her knowledge her daughter was never involved in anything that would have resulted in such a tragic end to her life.
She expressed the view that nothing would come out of her daughter’s death and added that her entire family is still traumatized.
Crime Chief Leslie James told Stabroek News that the case is still being investigated.