T&T cop, university student gunned down outside bar

(Trinidad Guardian) Four suspects were last night assisting police in their investigation into the murder of one of their colleagues and a University of the West Indies student.

Police constable Russell Ramnarine and engineering student Avery Keshwar were gunned down during the pre-dawn hours just outside a popular bar-b-que outlet in Aranguez, San Juan. However, mystery surrounded just how Ramnarine was killed, since investigating officers were wondering how he failed to get off a single shot in response to his attacker/s, who seemed to have been less than a metre away from him at the time of the attack. There was also more than one theory to the killing up to last night.

According to an official report released by the T&T Police Service ‘s (TTPS) Communications Unit, Ramnarine and Keshwar, 22, of College Road, St Augustine, were both gunned down outside the food establishment around 5.15 am.

Ramnarine, who was on duty but in plain clothes at the time, along with a uniformed officer of the St Joseph Police Crime Patrol, were said to be following up on a report made by Avery of a stolen cell phone among several other items, the release said.

The report stated that Ramnarine and the other officer had accompanied Avery in an unmarked vehicle to Aranguez to meet a suspect to retrieve the stolen items. But when the suspect observed the uniformed officer in the vehicle, he ran off. Ramnarine and the other officer came out their vehicle and chase after the suspect along Williams Street, Aranguez.

At some stage, however, Ramnarine stopped his pursuit and made his way back to the food outlet, allowing to other officer to continue the chase. However, just as Ramnarine made his way back to the vehicle, where Avery was still seated, and was about to enter it shots were fired from inside the bar-b-que outlet. Both men were hit several times and died on the spot. There was no exchange of gunfire, according to the police report.

However, a senior police officer assigned to a special unit, who did not want to be identified, gave the T&T Guardian another theory suggesting the attack may have also been a hit on Ramnarine, as he was a main witness against several other police officers currently before the courts charged with a criminal offence. He said the incident had left many of them shocked and with the “chills” to know that the possibility exists that Ramnarine was killed (allegedly by one of his own colleagues.

“This is scary to know, because in reality it means that it could happen again to any one of us! I don ‘t even want to think along that way but sadly, that ‘s the information that has been spreading around the police service, that he was a key witness against some police officers (it is alleged),” the officer said.

Ramnarine was sworn in as an officer on October 8, 2014, and was the son of acting Corporal Ronald Ramnarine of the Maloney Police Station.

Speaking at her Guaico, Tamana home yesterday, Ramnarine ‘s mother, Sharmilla, said her son was enrolled as a Special Reserve Police Officer about two years ago and was absorbed into the TTPS as a constable just over a year ago. She said her son was first assigned to the Sangre Grande Police Station and was transferred some months ago to the St Joseph Police Station. She described her son as a friendly and outspoken person and one who was always on the go.

“He never had anything bad to say about anybody. He was also a family guy and loved his family and his cousins,” the distressed mother told the T&T Guardian.

She said one of Ramnarine ‘s younger sisters, Shania, celebrated her 18th birthday yesterday.

“He was the first of four children,” Sharmilla said, as she explained that she was too distraught to speak further about her son.

An eyewitness, who did not want to be identified, claimed that when the incident occurred police officers were seen running through adjacent streets. He also alleged that the four people arrested were randomly taken from their private properties by the cops.

“Those police lie because no one from the bar-b-que place was arrested. No security, nobody. The police just take up four men from around the area,” the eyewitness said.

He also alleged that a number of spent shells were found in a garbage heap close to where the bodies were found.

Officers were still at the scene of the crime last night collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. The area around the business remained cordoned off and a tent was set up opposite. Officers on the scene said they were also seeking to source CCTV footage from the business and nearby properties.

Acting Snr Supt Oswald Cudjoe, of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, is spearheading investigations.

Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams yesterday joined with other officers in extending condolences to the family and loved ones of Ramnarine and Avery.


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