Tunapuna 15-year-old shot dead by police

(Trinidad Guardian) Police shot and killed a 15-year-old boy of Tunapuna yesterday which is being described by relatives as murder while police say it was a shoot-out with an armed “pest.”

According to police reports, shortly before noon they responded to a report that a man with a gun was seen in someone’s yard off Maingot Road, Tunapuna. When the officers responded there was a shoot-out and the teen, Josiah Ramsahai, was shot and taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where he died. Police said they recovered a 9mm pistol.

Police said following the shooting as they canvassed the area searching for items of evidential value, residents told them in hushed tones they were grateful Ramsahai was dead since “he was a menace.”

Ramsahai, who lived at Dookie Trace, Tunapuna, was released on bail from the St Micheal’s Home for Boys less than a month ago for gun-related offences which his relatives swore were “frame cases”.

Police said he was on 13 charges, including possession of guns, possession of narcotics, rape and larceny for offences allegedly committed this year and last year.

Speaking with the media yesterday at the family’s home, Ramsahai’s aunt, Afesha Ramsahai, said her nephew was at home less than an hour before he was killed and they were discussing what he wanted for his 16th birthday on December 2. She added that he left home and the next thing she heard of him was that he was shot.

“He call me and say ‘Aunty Feisha I get shoot’ and that was the last thing he tell me. When I ask him where, he didn’t’t answer. Up to now he ain’t answer. Josiah is a baby, He now start to live. He ain’t even get his id card yet,” she added.

Relatives said they were informed Ramsahai surrendered to police and while he ran from them he never fired at them. They said after he was felled into a bushy area, he was dragged through mud and thrown in a police van. One relative said she heard the gunshots that killed Ramsahai. She counted six but was told by doctors that he was shot some 17 times.

Ramsahai was a school dropout from the Aranjuez North Secondary School and was due to begin classes in electrical work at the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in January. He was due to graduate from secondary school next year had he not dropped out.

At the family’s home, relatives said Ramsahai was the target of a particular poiice officer. They claimed for over a year the officer had been pestering Ramsahai, even going as far as threatening to kill him. To corroborate their claim the relatives showed a report stamped and dated by the Police Complaints Division against two officers.

A relative added: “Right now the family in shambles. He lost his father on the same street that he get shoot. His father was killed in a drive-by a few years ago in that same street (Pasea Extension). He is his mother’s fourth child. She has eight. How she supposed to cope now?”

The family said police were “wicked, spiteful and untrustworthy” and asked: “How we supposed to trust them now?”

On Wednesday acting Police Commissioner, Stephen Williams, called on the public to trust his officers as he admitted to having 150 of them before the court for various offences.

In response to the claims of murder, police said they have a statement from an independent eyewitness who claimed to have seen Ramsahai not only running from police but shooting at them. The man claimed in the shootout his vehicle was struck three times by bullets from Ramsahai’s gun.

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