(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) The five men shot and killed on Thursday night opened fire on police officers as they were about to execute a search warrant at a home in Trou Macaque, Laventille, Trinidad.
This is the version of events being reported by police officers who say they had no choice but to use deadly force in defence of their lives.
However, relatives of the men are disputing the claims, saying that the men surrendered when the police arrived.
And the killings have attracted the attention of the Police Complaints Authority which on Friday afternoon said that an investigation had been launched into the conduct of the police officers involved.
Dead are: Shaquille ‘Crash’ Francois, Mishack Douglas, 24, Nicholas Barker, Kadeem Phillip and Shondell St Clair.
They are among 35 people killed by the police this year. Police have been involved in at least 28 deadly encounters this year.
Several of the men are suspected in a series of gun related crimes including shootings, robberies and the killing of a gang leader known as “Cow Man” in Laventille earlier this year.
Shortly before 10 p.m., officers of the Inter Agency Task Force were about to execute the warrant at Douglas’ home at Upper Wharton Street.
The warrant allowed officers to search for arms and ammunition.
However, when the officers entered the premises, they said they were shot at.
The officers returned fire, hitting all five men who were in the house. One died at the scene. Four died at the Port of Spain General Hospital.