PORT OF SPAIN –– Relatives of PC Govindra Ramroop, who was shot dead by one of his colleagues at the Guapo Police Station yesterday, wants stiff penalties against the offending officer, saying it was caused by negligence.
Homicide detectives are treating the killing as an accident, since they were told the officer was clearing his firearm when it discharged and a bullet struck 25-year-old Ramroop on the side of his abdomen.
The offending officer spent yesterday receiving counselling from the Victim And Witness Support Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
Several of Ramroop’s colleagues and family are also expected to be counselled. Ramroop is also the brother of Southern Division’s Corporal Ian Ramroop.
According to reports, Ramroop, a Special Reserve officer of Laltoo Trace, Penal, and two other officers had just returned from checking out a report of a woman being threatened by a male relative.
On returning to the station, located on the outskirts of Point Fortin, the officers went to a room around 1 a.m. where Ramroop was shot.
He was immediately taken to the Point Fortin Area Hospital by his colleagues where doctors tried to stem the bleeding. However, he died around 2 a.m. while being prepared to be transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital.
Senior South Western Division officers, including Senior Superintendent Nazrool Hosein, Superintendent Darwin James, ASP Salick Jagroop, Homicide Inspector Sean Dhilpaul and CID Inspector Peter Ramdeen, visited the station.
Crime Scene Unit gathered evidence from the scene, including the gun that went off.
ASP Jagroop is expected to lead the investigation. However, yesterday’s scheduled autopsy was postponed until today as forensic pathologist Dr Easlyn Mac Donald Borris was unwell.
At his home at Gopee Trace, Penal, Ramroop’s brother Garvin called on investigators to probe whether the correct procedures for clearing firearms were used by the offending officer, saying that no one was supposed to be around at the time.
He added: “There are ways to disarm a firearm. Police came down here just now and told us that it is likely that his death was accidental.
“You can’t shoot somebody just so and call it an accident. It has to be negligence. We need a thorough investigation because you just can’t come and tell my mother and his wife that he was accidentally killed.”
A senior police officers told the T&T Guardian officers were trained in the proper clearing procedures which were to go the designated area, ensure that no one was around, stand over a firing bin, unload the magazine and hand it over to the authorized personnel.
However, South Western Division officers said the police station was under renovation and the designated area used for clearing firearms was inaccessible. It was unclear whether CCTV footage was gathered from the station because of the renovation.
Recalling the incident, Garvin said a police vehicle went to Ramroop’s house around 1:30 a.m. and officers told his wife Susan that he was in an accident.
“It was not until she reached to Point Fortin that she was told that he had been shot,” he added.
He said colleagues were in high praise for Ramroop, saying he got along well with everyone.
Although Ramroop was employed at the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation, his brother said he always wanted to joined the service ever since their other brothe Ian was recruited, Garvin said
Ramroop was successful two years ago when he was accepted as an SRP.
There were plans for him to become a full-fledged police officer as he wanted badly to start his family with his wife, Garvin added.