Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 22nd 2016 Contents 6.0000
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Education Minister Anthony
Garcia reacted with horror and
anger yesterday after being
informed about the double mur-
der of two students.
A statement from the Educa-
tion Ministry last night said Gar-
cia, who is attending a University
of the West Indies meeting in
Jamaica, stated that officials of
the Student Support Services
would visit the Success Laventille
Secondary School today to pro-
vide grief counselling to both
classmates and staff.
"I am disturbed by the fact
that our students are not safe
while using public transport and
what is even more disturbing is
that they were killed while in
school uniform. I will be calling
for a full investigation into this
matter as incidents such as this
should not be allowed to occur,"
the release quoted the minister
Police have identified the stu-
dents as Mark Richards, of Sogren
Trace, Picton Road, and Denelson
Smith, of Mulrain Trace, Laven-
tille. The release said both the
police and MTS security at the
school have confirmed that
Richards was a student of the
school but did not attend classes
According to police they were
passengers in a taxi when gunmen
pulled up and opened fire on
them. They were killed instantly.
Health Minister Terrence Deyals-
ingh is currently acting as the
Minister of Education.
There will be a probe---Garcia
Laventille residents on teenagers' murder:
JENSEN LA VENDE
Slaughter of the innocents.
That was how Laventille residents
yesterday described the double mur-
der of two schoolboys, who were
dragged from a taxi and shot dead
while on their way home at Upper
The victims have been identified
as Success Laventille Secondary
School students Denelson Smith, 17,
and Mark Richards, 16, by residents
of Upper Picton Road, Laventille.
Mark Thomas, a member of Project
Reason, who lives in the community,
told the T&T Guardian that the killing
of the two was a slaughter.
"If I could speak to the gangsters
and them I will tell them that in all
wars there are rules of engagement,
please excuse the non-combatants.
If you know there are people who
not in this war, I can t even call this
a war that what happened was
slaughter. They picking out the best
fruits," Thomas said.
He said Smith was an aspiring
pilot, and had been attending aviation
classes every July-August vacation.
Thomas said crime was a disease and
it should be treated as such, adding
that one cure was for the people to
unite against the wrongdoers and co-
operate with the police.
"Maybe we could stop a retaliation,
we as the people have the power but
we keeping silent. We have to come
together and take away the power
from them (killers)," he added.
Police said the teens, both Form
Four students, were on their way
home with two other classmates
when gunmen stopped the car they
were in, ordered all the children out
and shot the two teens.
Smith collapsed and died near Fati-
ma Trace while Richards died a short
distance away. The teens lived not
from where they died. Smith lived at
Mulrain Trace, Picton, and Richards
at Sogren Trace. The killing police
said happened around 3.15 pm.
At the murder scene yesterday
Smith s brother, Devin, called for a
ceasefire among warring gangs.
He said his brother was always
indoors and only ventured outside
when it was time for school or when
he was going out to lime with friends
out of the area. He said his brother
was a good person who got along
well with all.
"I hear people laughing up the road,
saying they get two and they laugh-
ing," Devin said.
Smith s mother screamed that her
son s death will become just another
statistic and that no justice wil come
out of her son s killing. Overcome
with grief she could not be interviewed
when approached at the scene.
Both police and residents were
wrestling with a plausible motive for
the shooting as neither teens were
said to be involved in anything illegal.
A woman, who lives not too far
from where the boys were killed, said
she has lived in the area for most of
her 60-plus years and described the
tragedy as "heart-rending." The
woman said the presence of police
officers in the area could not be a
deterrent until the minds of mankind
Her neighbour said he was just
entering his home when he heard the
gunshots and later saw Smith s body
a short distance from his car which
was parked along Picton Road.
"I accustomed to this but this is
the first time that it was so close. I
living here all my life, 54 years, and
we tired of this shooting," he said,
suggesting a police post in the area
may be a deterrent.
A crime scene investigator at Picton Road, Laventille, where Mark Richards and De-Neil Smith were shot dead while returning from school yesterday.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
In a telephone interview with the
T&T Guardian yesterday head of the
Homicide Bureau, Snr Supt Oswald
Cudjoe, said the police would work to
solve the murders as soon as possible,
given that from all initial information
the teens were not involved in
In an interview before the murders
yesterday, Cudjoe said the hierarchy of
the Police Service was concerned with
the murder rate and have been trying
to combat it but was being starved of
vital information that the public could
He said while the police were doing
what they could, without the public's
assistance it was a major stumbling
Cudjoe added that of the 33
murders for the year two have been
solved with a teenager and a 53-year-
old man before the court charged with
He added: "Between December and
January that is normally a high period
and we are conscious of that and have
put things in place like increased
patrols to help stem the tides.
"But there are sporadic murders
and murders happening out of the hot
spots. I believe we have capacity and
ability to arrest the thing. People want
the murders solved but they don't
want to come forward.
"We cannot do it alone, we need the
assistance. The solve rate will
increase. We will bring it down to an
acceptable level but as I read, man
heart is evil.
"No one knows when a man is
going to kill someone. What we will
tackle are gang violence and
organised crimes. We have to focus
on that," Cudjoe added.
COPS CONCERNED OVER MURDER RATE
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