Trinidad landlord gunned down trying to evict tenants

Dominic Almerales and Desiree Sparkle Layne.

(Trinidad Guardian) Teach­ers at the Ari­ma Hin­du School were forced to send pupils home and shut down op­er­a­tions for the rest of the day yes­ter­day, af­ter a gun at­tack near the com­pound left one man dead and a woman in­jured.

Po­lice said around 7.40 am, Do­minic Almerales and De­siree Sparkle Layne went to serve evic­tion no­tices to their for­eign ten­ants who were rent­ing apart­ments from Almerales’ house on Tem­ple Street, Ari­ma.

How­ev­er, po­lice said they were both greet­ed by bul­lets from two armed men. Almerales was re­port­ed­ly struck sev­er­al times and died on the spot. Layne was shot on her arm and leg but po­lice said the in­juries were not life-threat­en­ing. She was tak­en to Ari­ma Health Fa­cil­i­ty where she was treat­ed and ward­ed in a sta­ble con­di­tion last evening.

Desiree Sparkle Layne and Dominic Houllier Almerales

It was re­port­ed that Almerales, a fa­ther of one, was a me­chan­ic and land­lord who lives close to his apart­ments on Tem­ple, Street. Guardian me­dia was told Almerales had heard his for­eign ten­ants were team­ing up with gangs in the area and de­cid­ed to evict them from his prop­er­ty.

A res­i­dent, who was tak­ing her child to school at the time of the at­tack, told Guardian Me­dia she had to run for cov­er when she heard loud ex­plo­sions close to the school. This was fol­lowed by po­lice sirens blar­ing as of­fi­cers ar­rived on the scene.

Pupils and teach­ers in the school com­pound re­port­ed­ly be­came scared dur­ing the chaos and the prin­ci­pal or­dered all stu­dents to go in­side their class­es, be­fore lock­ing all the gates lead­ing on­to the com­pound and mak­ing phone calls to par­ents to come and get their chil­dren.

One rel­a­tive, who was cry­ing at the scene and on­ly gave her name as Ma­bel, told Guardian Me­dia Almerales was killed be­cause he was try­ing to get rid of crim­i­nal el­e­ments he be­lieved were mis­lead­ing the youths in the com­mu­ni­ty.

“The boy is so nice, he will hug and kiss you wher­ev­er and when­ev­er he sees you. He is re­spectable and kind-heart­ed and is loved by many. I can’t be­lieve that my best nephew was killed in such a cru­el man­ner, I will miss him as he was con­nect­ed to me,” she said, not­ing she hoped the po­lice catch the killers soon.

Eye­wit­ness­es re­port­ed see­ing two men armed with sub­ma­chine guns, one of African de­scent and the oth­er be­lieved to be a Venezue­lan, run­ning through their yard. A po­lice­man who was at his moth­er’s home, which was in close prox­im­i­ty to the shoot­ing, said he al­so saw two men with sub­ma­chine guns run­ning out of the apart­ment where Almerales was killed.

Po­lice be­lieve the shoot­ing was re­lat­ed to the evic­tion of the ten­ants, some of whom are be­lieved to have been in the coun­try il­le­gal­ly.

Almerales’ body was viewed by a dis­trict med­ical of­fi­cer who or­dered its re­moval to the Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre, St James, where an au­top­sy will be per­formed.

Vis­it­ing the scene were Ari­ma CID of­fi­cers led by Sgt Mot­t­ley, Homi­cide Bu­reau Re­gion II, Arou­ca of­fi­cers led by In­sp Parks, Cpl Jones and PC Mc Queen and Ari­ma Task Force mem­bers.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing.

Almerales’ killing pushed the mur­der to­tal to 183.


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