(Trinidad Express) Two houses and a car were firebombed last night as gang violence erupted on the streets of Beverly Hills, Laventille.
Five people have been left homeless as a result of the incident which has come just ten days after the end of the 106-day State of Emergency.
Police told the Express that it was caused by a rift between the Beverly Hills gang and the Plaisance Terrace gang, which escalated into scenes of all-out warfare in the Beverly Hills neighbourhood.
One man was shot during the mayhem that broke out shortly after 6 p.m.
A woman whose house was partially burnt during the mayhem told the Express, “I came home from work to meet my house burning and my neighbour house burning.”
“Right now it is me, my son and my common-law husband and my mother who have no place to stay tonight,” said the woman who begged not to be named.
She said that some men had torched her neighbour’s house but did not know why they did what they did. Asked if he had family she said that the man lived there by himself.
“Please don’t say it was gang violence because I don’t know what again these people will do,” said the woman.
Two other residents of Beverly Hills, speaking on the condition of strict anonymity, said that the Beverly Hills gang had become increasingly fragmented over the last months as there was internal fighting.
The Express understands that the Beverly Hills and Plaisance Terrace gangs, which previously formed one gang, became increasingly engaged in infighting, which escalated into a rift among factions.
Investigators last night confirmed that the gang was split into at least three different factions.
Senior investigators informed the Express that the firebombing of a car belonging to a Beverly Hills gang member triggered the incident. Other sources said the car belonged to the wife of slain gang leader Mark Guerra.
Rival gang members retaliated and burnt down the house of another gang member, sources said. Shortly afterwards, gunshots rang out and a man in his late 20s, whom police identified as a gang member, was shot in the shoulder. The man was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Within minutes of the incident scores of personnel from the Guard and Emergency Branch, CID and the Riot Police were deployed to the area to quell the rioting residents who were also becoming involved in confrontations.
The Express understands that the SAUTT helicopter which was circling the area for several hours with its spotlight, scanning the area to ensure there were no further outbreaks of violence, was shot at.
Police spent several hours in Laventille last night ensuring no further violence broke out and are expected to maintain a strong presence in the area, as they are anticipating further reprisals today.