Trinidad: Chaos At Courts

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – A mother who was painting her home for Christmas had to abandon it when she received the shocking news that her two children had been shot dead at the Courts Megastore in San Juan yesterday.

“I was in my house painting. I now get the phone call and I run out. But hear what I telling you. You see this coming new year. I swear. I swearing on my life and over my children life no police officer can’t get to pass by me with nothing,” Abigail John, whose hands had paint stains, told reporters at the scene yesterday.

And, Christmas shopping inside the Megastore off the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway ended abruptly when the siblings were shot dead by an off-duty police officer in the car park.

Following the shocking incident, which occurred around 1 p.m., tensions flared and threats were issued towards particular police officers by relatives of the brother and sister.

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) did not issue any statement up to last night, but police officers who spoke to the media claimed that the siblings, in company with three others, had attempted to rob the off-duty officer when he drew his licensed firearm and shot them.

Simeon Lessey, 33, ran a short distance and collapsed in a drain, while his sister, Sinaeya Lessey, 35, died next to a black Hilux van in which she had arrived at the location minutes before.

Another man, Nathan Pierre, 31, remained hospitalised up to yesterday evening. Two other men, whose identities could not be confirmed up to last night, also remained under medical care for gunshot injuries.

The officer was also said to have been taken to hospital for minor injuries.

All five were said to be from Trou Macaque, Laventille.

The family’s story

The unofficial police reports, though, were in stark contrast to that given by relatives of the deceased.

They said Sinaeya knew her killer and that she had fallen victim to a scam by him. He had promised that he was able to obtain items for her from Courts at half-price. As a result, last week she had handed over $11,000 for certain items and when she realised the officer was not keeping his side of the bargain, she decided to retrieve her money.

After a number of attempts, Sinaeya was eventually able to contact the officer via phone yesterday, and he advised her to meet him at the Megastore.

It could not have been confirmed if they met the officer in the store or in the car park, but when the five did meet him, the fatal gunshots rang out.

Arriving at the scene about 45 minutes after the incident, Abigail John, the mother of the victims, said her children’s “murders” stemmed from the “scam”.

“I was at home painting at the time, when I got a phone call that my children dead,” she said.

John denied the two had gone to carry out any robbery, but was aware that her daughter wanted to retrieve the $11,000.

Kadesha Moore, who said she was the god-daughter of Sinaeya and stepdaughter of Simeon, said the deal with the officer was that he could obtain items from the store at half-price.

“They are saying you will get half-off. They giving you a bill and everything and them telling you that people would bring the items for you out in the back (of the store) with a truck to collect,” she said.

Moore said when Sinaeya realised she was not getting the items, she decided she no longer wanted to be part of the deal and demanded that she be repaid her money.

“It is since last week she paid that $11,000 of her Christmas money. That person is not seeing Christmas. I don’t care what anybody say. He not seeing Christmas,” Moore yelled.

She also pointed at two other police officers in uniform who were standing next to Simeon Lessey’s body, claiming they were the same two officers who had dropped off Sinaeya at her home in Laventille after she handed over the money.

“They are the same two police officers there who came home with my godmother the same night she get scammed. What is going on? If allyuh police can’t do allyuh job then give it to somebody else who want it. Up to yesterday (Saturday) she gave me $200 for Christmas,” shouted Moore.

“When the revenge come, then people will say that people wicked but they don’t know who was doing the wickedness first. It go reach home right by them. It not going far. It is right home by them,” she said.