PORT OF SPAIN –– Police have described a gun attack at a birthday party in Freeport as botched hit, as the intended target survived with life-saving injuries.
Three of his guests were killed and two others injured.
The intended target, according to investigating police officers, was Daniel Spencer, who was celebrating his 25th birthday at his small wooden home at Commonwealth Drive, Nelson Road. The incident occurred at 12.30 a.m.
The deceased were identified as: Elton Armorer, 35; Michael Kent Brown, 25 and Winston Edwards, 39. The wounded were identified as: Spencer, his girlfriend Melika Davis, 20 and one of Spencer’s guest, Ronald Earl, 31.
T&T Guardian was told the shooting was linked to the murder Kurt Francis, 27, who was fatally shot in the head while at Caparo on December 30. That murder occurred at 11:10 p.m. Francis lived at Arena Road in Freeport.
However, speaking with the T&T Guardian while at Spencer’s home yesterday a close friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he knew that Spencer’s house was shot at by gunmen some time last year. He said Spencer often got in trouble with the law for fighting and other things, which he chose not to disclose.
“Generally, he was a cool and normal fella but loved to drink, lime and party. Every weekend would be a party and going out thing for him,” the friend said.
Spencer’s sister, Rachel, who stopped by to collect clothes for her brother said that he was undergoing surgery at the San Fernando General Hospital.
Another relative, who wished not to be identified said that as a result of “many attempts/attacks” on his life, Spencer installed surveillance cameras –– one was seen tied on to a light pole just in front of the yard facing the road and one fixed on the right hand corner of the wooden house facing the entry to the yard.
Police officers have taken the DVR for viewing to see whether or not anything useful was recorded that may be able to assist them in their investigations.
An eyewitness said he saw three men armed with guns running through a ravine located at the back of the house. “They pass on the road, through the bushes and through the ravine to come up and shoot. They knew the surroundings very well it seemed,” he said.
According to another eyewitness, those shot were among a group of eleven who were sitting on a wall and drinking around 12:30 a.m. when gunshots rang out.
“We had our backs turned to the house and we were taking a shot of Puncheon that Armorer bring up for Daniel for his birthday when I just hear ‘Paks, paks, paks’ and I run,” the man said.
“It look like they come up from behind the house but we didn’t hear anything until they started to shoot because we was playing the music loud,” he said.
He said he fell on his knees and thanked God for life, “I could have get shoot too, them men ain’t care about nobody, they just shoot up the place and run.”
Armorer, one of the men who was killed, in his last conversation with his mother Judith, promised to stay away from Nelson Street, Freeport and turn his life around.
However, Armorer’s desire to celebrate his friend’s birthday led him to the same street where he was killed along with his two friends.
When the T&T Guardian visited the scene yesterday morning, Armorer’s blue Nissan Almera car was still parked in front of Spencer’s house and the bottle of Puncheon was still on the wall.
Judith said she was still in shock over the death of her first son.
Armorer was a ‘PH’ taxi driver and Judith said he had told her he wanted to purchase a new car this year.
“Just yesterday [Tuesday] he came by me to cut the grass and the last conversation I had with him was me telling him not to go in Nelson Street and lime, I told him that area was bad news,” she said.
“He told me ‘Mammy, I trying to change my life around. I done liming with them fellas.’”
She said she learnt of his death while on the way to the Piarco International Airport to pick up his father, Elton Senior who was returning from a vacation abroad.
“His father not taking this good at all . . . Elton [Junior] was born on his birthday so they usually celebrated together every year.”
Brown’s uncle, Deodath Seebaran said his nephew was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He said Brown and Edwards were close friends as they had grown up a stone’s throw from each other in Lime Fruit Road, Freeport.
Brown was a mason and lived with his common-law wife, Rachel.
A relative of Edwards, who asked not to be identified, said he was devoted to his two children, aged 12 and 15. She also described him as an exceptional child to his mother who has been ailing for sometime.
“He was a very attentive father, he treated his children very well,” the relative said.
“He lived with his mother and grandmother and would do everything for them.
“He used to cook meals for his mother and he really stood by her in her time of need,” Edwards’ relative said. She said he worked with a sub-contractor for WASA and was not involved in any gang-related activity.
“He was not involved in any gang warfare or associated with anything like that. This was just a birthday party that he attended and ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”