(Trinidad Guardian) A hunting trip in Blanchisseuse with a group of friends ended tragically for a policeman after he was accidentally shot yesterday.
Police Constable Dave Raghonanan, 35, who waited several hours before he was airlifted to the hospital, was pronounced dead on arrival at the facility yesterday morning.
However, the man who allegedly shot the officer, a 39-year-old Arima man who was among the group, did not have a firearm user’s licence for the 12-gauge shotgun involved in the fatal incident. Police are still investigating the circumstances of the shooting, but the shooter will likely face charges of possession of arms and ammunition.
Raghonanan, who was last attached to the Guard and Emergency Branch, left his home with his friends on Wednesday for Petit Tacariqe, Paria, but something went wrong on Thursday night.
Police said eight of them went on the hunting trip. Raghonanan and three others went hunting while the other four remained in the camp. Police said Raghonanan got a cramp while they were hunting and sat down against a tree. The friends left him there and continued hunting. Forgetting that he was in that area, police said the men later opened fire and accidentally shot him.
According to a TTPS release, around midnight officers attached to the Blanchisseuse Police Station received information from the Command Centre that an officer was accidentally shot while hunting. However, the only access to the Petit Tacarique Bay, which is located on an isolated islet off Blanchisseuse, is via boat or helicopter. Raghonanan was airlifted out of the forest by helicopter and arrived at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, around 7.20 am. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The release said officers visited the scene and interviewed members of the hunting trip.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith extended his sincerest condolences to the family.
At his family’s home at Diamond Village, San Fernando, relatives were in a state of shock.
Raghonanan’s sister Teshiera Raghonanan-Mathura said her brother recently started going on the hunting trips with his friends. Although they were concerned for his safety, she said Raghonanan had a “big macho” attitude and would say he could take care of himself. She said her brother was expected to return home yesterday. She said Raghonanan had 15 years service and recently passed his corporal examination.
“He enjoyed his job. He wanted to move up the ranks,” she said.
She said their brother Tyrone Raghonanan is also a police officer.
Raghonanan, she said, loved outdoor activities and was a member of the Trailblazers 4×4 Jimny club.
Raghonanan, the last of three siblings, was divorced and lived alone but he had already started putting up decorations and preparing for Christmas. She said the police promised them a full investigation.