(Trinidad Guardian) Police are now bracing for a fallout after a 31-year-old mother of two was gunned down just outside her Pioneer Drive, Sea Lots home yesterday morning, less than 12 hours after a deadly drive-by shooting claimed the lives of two men, including a calypsonian, and left six others wounded.
According to a police report, shortly after 7 am Tracy Julius-Rogers opened her front door after someone called out to her. As she stepped outside an unknown gunman opened fire, hitting her once in the chest. Another man, whose name was not disclosed to Guardian Media, was also shot in one of his feet during the attack.
The community had been thrown into disarray a little less than 12 hours before this attack after two vehicles drove by, just off the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, around 8 pm and carried out a failed hit targeting community leader Cedric “Burkie” Burke. The occupants from one of the vehicles, believed to be a Nissan Xtrail, opened fire on a group of men who were playing poker.
Rawlye Williams, 37, died on the spot while calypsonian Patrick “Revealer” Lewis, who was said to be an “innocent” passerby, died of his injuries at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Lewis was at one time registered under the calypso tent Klassic Ruso. He was currently working on his 2019 calypso and did not reveal its title yet.
Six others – Jamal Leid, 24, who was shot in the right shoulder; Nigel Roberts, 30, shot in the right foot; Shenelle Johnson, 24, shot on the right leg; Trey Baird, 22, shot in the back; Trevor Isaac, 56, shot on the left hand and Rahim Bruce, 23, shot in the chest – were also hit. Bruce is currently warded in a critical condition at the hospital. Burke escaped unhurt.
According to a police source, Julius-Rogers was believed to have been an informant who pointed out to the shooters where the men, including Burke, were liming. A source told the Guardian Media that after the drive-by shooting a voice note surfaced on social media and the voice was believed to be that of Julius-Rogers, a mother of two.
A relative of Williams, identified only as Joel, who was at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, said Williams was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He said Williams lived in D’Abadie but frequented the area, where he often engages in card games and “ole talk.”
“He was a labourer but was not working at present. He was no mischievous fella…was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Joel said.
But what was the real motive behind Sunday’s deadly drive-by?
According to police sources, it was linked to a falling out among young men in the Sea Lots area who were all once under Burke, being guided by him. It is believed that the disgruntled men moved out of the area and vowed to “kill Burke.” It is believed Julius-Rogers was linked to these men and was accused of sharing information on the whereabouts of Burke and other men in the area.
There are also claims by police that the fallout stemmed from the granting of government contracts to Burke and his men. However, during a visit to the community yesterday, Burke’s close associate, identified only as Crow, said claims of the distribution and granting of government contracts to Burke were “outright not true.”
“A lot of men against Burke because he doesn’t support the crime. He does employ the ghetto youths in his Cepep and URP gangs and construction and security companies just so that the youths would be employed and not just be on the block idling,” Crow said.
“They against what Burke stands for. Men left here who were against the good vibes in the community here and what Burke was doing and they gone for years, we never know their whereabouts. But we believe that the outsiders came for Burke although they didn’t shoot at anybody specific and just spray at all who there and passing.”
Asked what the Sea Lots community wanted, Crow said a visit from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to listen to their concerns.
Saying they were given election promises that are yet to be fulfilled, Crow said, “We help you to reach where you are. You promised certain things. We help you reach where you are and you forget us!
“You tell yourself because it ain’t reach in front of your door you safe? But all I just want you to know is that day does run until night meet up mister Prime Minister and all unfair games does play over and God has the last say.”
Crow said the people of T&T are being neglected under the Rowley administration and added that that neglect needs to change immediately.
“The last prime minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, used to come in and hear the plight of the people. Former prime minister Patrick Manning used to come in and you (referring to Rowley) is a man, so, why you can’t come and hear us,” Crow said.
Police officers are also investigating another drive-by shooting in Maloney that occurred on Sunday night simultaneous to Sea Lots incident. That incident occurred near Building 15, where two women and a man were shot and wounded.
Investigations are continuing.