PORT OF SPAIN — Downtown Owners and Merchants Association president Gregory Aboud yesterday expressed his frustration over the continuing crime problems in the country, saying his members and, by extension, citizens no longer feel safe conducting their business activities and going about their daily lives.
“It is foolish and counter-productive for anybody in this country to stand and preach how safe the country is,” Aboud said. “We are not safe. We don’t feel safe and we know from incidents like this today that the danger is increasing.”
His comments came after a 41-year-old security guard was shot dead during a botched jewellery store robbery in downtown Port-of-Spain.
According to police reports, around 11:30 a.m., two men entered Anton’s Gold Rush at Aboutique Mall, Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain. Police said one of the men drew a firearm and threatened the employees while the other emptied the store’s showcases of jewelry, which included gold pendants and chains. After a couple of minutes the men left the store and attempted to run out of the mall. Police said John Adams, a security guard, saw the men as they were attempting to flee and attempted to apprehend one of them. Police said that while grappling with the suspect, he (the robber) drew the firearm and shot Adams three times in the chest.
Eyewitnesses told police after Adams was shot and slumped to the floor, the gunman dropped a bag of stolen jewelry and ran away towards Henry Street. The other suspect ran in the opposite direction towards Frederick Street. One eyewitness told the T&T Guardian another guard chased after the second suspect but was unable to catch him. The jewelry, which investigators estimated to be worth $100,000, was recovered. Adams, a father of three, from Trou Macaque Road, Laventille, was rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He was employed with Knights Security Services.
Immediately after the robbery, detectives of the Port-of-Spain CID, led by ASP Ajith Persad, locked down the mall for several hours as they searched for clues. Investigators yesterday evening were reviewing CCTV footage captured from security cameras positioned within and outside of the mall. An arrest is imminent, police said. When a team from the T&T Guardian visited the scene, several eyewitnesses hailed Adams’ actions as heroic. “The security guard did a marvelous job by running down the bandit. If they had assistance they would have surely caught them bandits,” one man, who wished to remain unidentified, said.
However, eyewitnesses were also critical of the lack of police presence due to yesterday’s inclement weather. “This is Frederick Street, when rain falling hard all the police in the station. If we had police patrolling here the guard might have lived,” another man said. (Guardian)