T&T cop killed during botched restaurant robbery

Richard Babwah (Trinidad Express photo)

(Trinidad Guardian) Special Reserve police officer Richard Babwah was killed on Monday evening during an attempted robbery at a Chinese restaurant in Arouca.

Babwah, the father of two girls, was killed after he was fired upon by two bandits who stormed the restaurant shortly after 6 pm.

He was last night described as a hero by his colleagues, as they said “this just showed the extent of his dedication to his job…sad as it is.”

Babwah, 31, who was assigned to Region 2 Homicide, had reportedly just left work at the Arouca Police Station and was on his way home when he stopped at the Long Yuan Chinese Restaurant to purchase dinner to take home to his family.

Police officers outside the Long Yuan Chinese Restaurant in Arouca last night, where their colleague, SRP Richard Babwah, was shot and killed by bandits.

According to preliminary reports, Babwah was in the restaurant when two men walked in and announced a robbery. Babwah attempted to draw his firearm but was fatally shot by one of the bandits. Police sources said the safety lock on Babwah’s firearm was on when he drew it and the delay allowed one of the bandits to shoot him. Police said the men then subsequently escaped in a waiting vehicle – a red Almera licensed PCM 1625.

Police officers who responded within minutes to the attack later spotted the getaway vehicle travelling east along the Eastern Main Road. A high-speed chase ensued and the police intercepted the vehicle near Pelican Lane in Maloney. Police said the men shot at the police as they attempted to escape, forcing the officers to return fire. One of the suspects was shot and another was immediately arrested. A third suspect, the driver, managed to escape but police held him hours later. The wounded suspect was up to late last night being treated for gunshot wounds at the Arima District Hospital.

At the scene, Babwah’s relatives arrived at about 7.30 pm where they viewed his body. They were inconsolable and were seen comforting each other outside the restaurant.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, one of Babwah’s colleagues described the incident as “very tragic.”

“He was a very hard working officer and everyone would always like to work alongside with him because he makes his job and others around him enjoyable,” Babwah’s colleague said.

T&T Police Service Social and Welfare Association president Michael Seales last night extended deepest condolences to Babwah’s family.

“The association is in shock at this time…our heart goes out to the family…this by itself tells you that with our job we can leave for work and never be sure to return home, especially around this time, Christmas time, where robberies are very prevalent,” Seales said.

Investigating officers were up to late last night still processing the scene.

Investigations are continuing.

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