(Trinidad Guardian) Plans for birthday celebrations turned to funeral arrangements yesterday, after prison officer Richard Sandy was killed by an ex-convict he knew while liming at a bar in Gasparillo.
The father of five died around 4.20 am at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the San Fernando General Hospital after he underwent emergency surgery, where his right leg was amputated. Sandy, who would have celebrated his 47th birthday today, suffered massive blood loss after the bullet severed a major artery in his thigh.
A prison officer for 22 years, Sandy was attached to the Rations Room in the Port-of-Spain prison.
He was liming at the Colonnade Restaurant and Bar at Caratal Road, Gasparillo, with his colleague when the ex-convict, whom they knew, accosted them around 9.05 pm on Saturday. The T&T Guardian was told the ex-convict, who lives in the area, first engaged in small talk with the officers, asking them if they remembered him, before shooting Sandy.
The ex-convict, age 33, was released from prison four months ago and has charges for arms and ammunition and shooting with intent before the court. He was still on the run up to late yesterday.
As word spread about Sandy’s passing, several colleagues, friends and family gathered at his Ibis Drive, Pleasantville home, where he lived with his wife of 14 years Jennifer Sandy and children.
Jennifer said her husband left with their neighbour, who is a prison officer, to have a pre-birthday drinks. She was told the suspect pointed a gun at her husband’s colleague and the officer hit away the man’s hand.
“Being the mediator, which he (Sandy) loves to be, he always try to mediate and calm a situation. He tried to talk to the guy with the gun, the ex-prisoner, and with that he shot him in his right leg,” she said.
Sandy did not express any fear to her about his safety, but she said a year or two ago her husband got a threatening letter from a prisoner. However, she said the authorities accused him to setting up the prisoner to write the letter.
“How could somebody set up somebody to write a threatening letter saying they coming to rape and kill your wife and children and murder you? And they just discard it and they never did anything about it, the prison,” she complained.
She said the authorities need to treat all threats against prison officers seriously.
Also appealing to men to put down the guns, she said, “Fellas of Trinidad and Tobago, put down the gun, because you all are destroying good families. My husband was a very family-oriented person, loved his kids, wife and family. You all just come and snatch him away, just like that, in an instant.
“I do not know what the Ministry of National Security, what they do, what they sit down in their offices and do because we are at the will of these murderers out here.”
Jennifer said her husband loved to cook and they had already bought the chicken to barbecue for his birthday. Sandy has two children with Jennifer, aged two and 14 and three older children from a previous relationship.
Officers of the Gasparillo Police Station and Homicide Bureau are continuing investigations.