In T&T: Bandit, 15, slain, cop wounded

Anand Ram

(Trinidad Guardian) Three days after PC Richard Babwah was killed during a shootout with bandits, another officer was shot under similar circumstances in Marabella.

On Thursday, however, PC Anand Ram, who is attached to the Gasparillo Police Station, was hailed a hero after he and his colleagues risked their lives to save a woman whose home had been invaded earlier by three bandits.

Ram was shot in the abdomen during a gunfight after he confronted one of the alleged bandits who was trying to escape. Suspect Isaac Simmons, who is just 15, was also shot dead by Ram during the incident.

According to police reports, around 4 pm three armed bandits broke into the home of a bank manager along Moze Drive, Gopaul Lands. They kept the woman under guard as they went through the house.

However, neighbours reportedly contacted police after seeing something suspicious. Police later responded and caught the bandits running away from the house. The officers approached the bandits and there was an exchange of gunfire. Ram was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and was awaiting a CT scan up to press time. Colleagues said Ram was wearing a bullet proof vest but the bullet entered an area of his body which was not protected by armour.

Simmons, who lived in the nearby ‘train line’ community, died at the scene. Investigators said he was known to them, as he recently spent two days in custody in connection with a robbery.

Supt Rohan Pardasie, ASP Ali Mohammed, Insp Don Gajadhar, Sgt Dale Ramroop, Cpl Barry Bachus and PC Roger Moses responded and the other two suspects were later held.

An eyewitness said when police responded to the robbery, the suspects attempted to run away from the house. Simmons ran onto Fahey Avenue and tried to hide in the bushes of an empty lot. On realising the officers had followed him, he tried to sneak out but stumbled and fell. As the officers drew closer, he began shooting wildly and injured Ram. Other officers returned fire and Simmons was killed. One of the suspects was held at the house. The eyewitness said the young boys living along the old train line were responsible for several of the the crimes in the area, including three robberies in one week against a resident.

Speaking to the T&T Guardian at the scene yesterday, Simmons’ grandmother, Merlene Rock, said she had a premonition that he would be killed and warned him. However, she said he still persisted in wrongdoing. Rock said Simmons’ problems with crime started recently, when he left his mother’s home in Tarodale Gardens, Ste Madeleine and went to live in the old train line community.

“I spoke to him just Monday when he came from school. He met me at the junction as I was going to buy paint by the hardware, so I took him with me,” Rock said.

“I told him that this is the best thing he is doing: Going to school so he could work hard for what he wants. I do talk to all my grandchildren. Police told me to talk to him because his name was calling. They came and told me that he would get killed if he continued. I dreamt that he got killed and I told him. I felt a pain in my gut knowing that you’re talking to them right through and they are not listening.”

It was only on Monday that Babwah was killed by one of two bandits who tried to rob a Chinese restaurant in Arouca. Babwah wounded one of the bandits during a shoot-out in the restaurant, but all three suspects were subsequently apprehended. His funeral is today in Arouca.

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