T&T prison officer escapes gunman in Grande as fear continues to grow

(Trinidad Guardian) A prison officer narrowly escaped being shot and killed at his Foster Road, Sangre Grande home on Friday night. The prison officer’s vehicle was sprayed with bullets as the gunman believed he was still in it.
Fearful that the gunman would return to finish the job, the 25-year-old prison officer, who remains traumatised, has moved out of his home.

He was not available for comment.
Police reported that around 8 pm on Friday, the prison officer who is attached to the Eastern Correction Centre, Santa Rosa, drove his white Tiida vehicle into his unfenced house at Foster Road.

As he alighted from the vehicle, the gunman fired several shots behind the car.

The prison officer ran into a neighbour’s house where he sought refuge and called the police.

Cpl Randy Castillo and WPC Seenath of the Sangre Grande CID responded and were backed up by officers of the Eastern Task Force.

On arrival at the scene of the shooting, police found the car riddled with bullet holes. Crime Scene officers also found several spent shells.

He escaped in a waiting vehicle.
Cpl Castillo is continuing investigations.

FEAR CRIPPLING OTHER OFFICERS

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon

A senior prison officer, the victim of a similar incident, said fear was crippling prison officers and nothing is being done to safeguard them. The call for firearms for off-duty prison officers is yet to be addressed in spite of the Prison Officers Association’s cry for security and safety of officers.

The Prison Officers Association on Friday reported that they were tracking down all their members living in west Trinidad following the murder of one of their colleagues and attempted murder of another, who recently retired.

But the senior officer, who also resides in the East, said they will have to do the same for those in the East as this was the second incident where prison officers were shot at in Sangre Grande.

POA Secretary Gerard Gordon told the Guardian an average of 300 inmates are left in the care of police officers to be taken to court and some inmates have returned with fast food and other things they could not get on their own. He said it was not only rogue prison officers who facilitated the influx of contraband, which is a flourishing business in the prison.

“This thing bigger than the jail. We do not have society’s help. So today is us and who is next? Who will the criminal be offended by, so they will come to kill? I am fed up ! It is too much too soon.”

Following the murder of two prison officers last month, the association secured a meeting with National Security Minister Edmund Dillon. The association will meet will Dillon at 3:30 pm on Tuesday to further address their concerns.

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