Heavily-armed gunmen stormed a house in Gonzales, early yesterday morning and executed four family members, as they lay sleeping. Among them were three siblings.
The victims were identified as:
�2 Asha Roberts, 24
�2 Javon Roberts, 18
�2 LL Roberts, 13
�2 Carmen McHutchinson, 68
Asha's four-year-old daughter, Zara Sylvester, who was also in the house at the time of the attack, was also shot. Up to late yesterday, she was listed in a stable condition at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, Her injuries were said to be not life-threatening. Mario McHutchinson, Carmen's 43-year-old son and stepfather of Asha, Javon and LL saved the life of his eight-year-old daughter Mikelia by jumping through a window and hiding in some nearby bushes when the gunmen opened fire. Asha's 23-year-old sister Jehial, who also survived the attack by running into a neighbour's house for refuge, was listed at Port-of-Spain General Hospital in stable condition after being shot.
The killings, according to Pamela Roberts-Glasgow, aunt of the Roberts siblings, allegedly stemmed from an incident on Carnival Monday. Awaiting the autopsy results at the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday, Roberts-Glasgow claimed that Jehial had been threatened by gunmen from Gonzales, who accused her of encouraging "enemies" into the area. "On Carnival Monday. two guys from Bath Street came by Jehiel to get their hair plaited. "Guys at Gonzales saw that and they were angered and they got into a heated argument with my niece and they threatened to kill her. They made good on their promise," Roberts-Glasgow said. Describing the killings as "a massacre" Roberts-Glasgow said the gunmen stormed her family's home on Fair View Hill, Gonzales, around 12.30 am by breaking down a door on the southern side of the building. "My sister lost three children in one hit. What this place really coming to? "This place really gone mad. This is a massacre, because they come for everybody. Them fellas would not have even spared my four-year-old niece," Roberts-Glasgow said.
Imploring the young men to cease the senseless killings, Roberts-Glasgow also begged that there be no retaliation for the murders. She expressed faith in the police, adding that it was only a matter of time before the criminals were brought to justice. "But we not about no street justice, and we are not going down that way. We believe the police would do their work," Roberts-Glasgow said. Spearheading the probe, acting ASP Sahadeo Singh said the police had an idea who the perpetrators and were working on leads.
Homicide officers, under Sr Supt David Nedd, Insp Ancil Corbette and Sgt Michael Veronique, also interviewed several residents yesterday. Police sources said after last year's murder of reputed Gonzales gangleader Joel "Snake Eye" Phillip, 34, gang members accused a rival gang from Bath Street of committing the act.
Gonzales residents said since Phillip's murder, it became "common knowledge" that "border lines" were set up between Bath Street and Gonzales. Five years ago, Roberts-Glasgow's sister Sherma Roberts also lost her life to a bullet. Sherma, a URP worker, and her friend Donna George, a pre-school teacher, were each shot twice in the head at Roberts' home at Carnelia Gardens in Diamond Vale, Diego Martin. Roberts' husband was a soldier and George's spouse was a Coast Guard officer.