TRINIDAD – Murder twist
Investigation suggests cop too inexperienced for operation
PORT OF SPAIN –– Investigations into the murders of PC Russell Ramnarine and UWI engineering student Avery Keshwar in San Juan on Monday took a slight twist yesterday, when a senior police officer was allegedly asked to answer why he instructed Ramnarine to go on an alleged sting operation given his inexperience in the T&T Police Service (TTPS).
The Police Social and Welfare Association is also calling on acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to launch a probe into the matter.
Information reaching the T&T Guardian suggests that Ramnarine was too inexperienced to have been despatched on such a risky police operation in the early hours of the morning at the location in question, which is known for drug trade activity.
According to a police source close to the investigation, the senior officer instructed Ramnarine to go to Aranguez with Keshwar in a bid to retrieve some stolen items, including a cellphone.
It is also alleged that minutes before Ramnarine left the St Joseph Police Station in an unmarked vehicle, he (Ramnarine) was told he would have met up with officers attached to two other elite units. However, it is alleged that Ramnarine did not get the promised back-up.
According to the source, the senior officer can be charged with vicarious liability under Chapter 15:01 of the Police Service Act in the officer’s death.
The T&T Guardian understands that a Glock 18 firearm was also found in a white plastic bag amongst some french fries in a garage near the crime scene where Ramnarine and Keshwar were found dead on Monday night, as investigators continued their search for clues in the case.
The firearm was sent to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for ballistic testing. It is believed that it was one of the firearms used in the double murder.
The T&T Guardian was also told that an official from the barbecue establishment where the men were killed was assisting police in their investigations.
Ramnarine, who started off his career as a special reserve police officer about two years ago, was absorbed into the TTPS over a year ago. He was first attached to the Sangre Grande Police Station but was transferred a few months ago to St Joseph.
Contacted on the issue yesterday, Ramesar called on Williams to probe the matter.
“We have to do an investigation to say who was responsible and the association is calling for the commissioner of police to launch an investigation into what transpired at the police station he was attached to,” Ramesar said.
Ramesar said the details of Ramnarine’s duty, who gave the instructions and what were the dynamics of the so-called sting operation were needed.
“The association is of the view that there are too many questions with this. He was still on probation and the circumstances don’t add up to the current practices and procedures. If he [Ramnarine] was sent on that duty, any management and supervisors should be held accountable,” he said.
At the University of the West Indies’ St Augustus Campus yesterday, arrangements were under way for a memorial service in Keshwar’s honour. He was a first year electrical engineering student.
An official at UWI said Keshwar was not so well known but was described as a quiet individual who was dearly loved by his classmates.
Ramnarine, 24, and Keshwar, 22, of College Road, St Augustine, were gunned down on Monday at Aranguez Road, Aranguez.
Reports are that Ramnarine, along with a uniformed officer, accompanied the victim in an unmarked vehicle to Aranguez to meet the suspect to retrieve the cellphone among other items.
When the suspect observed the uniformed officer in the vehicle, he ran off. Ramnarine and the other officer chased the suspect along Williams Street, Aranguez. However, Ramnarine eventually gave up and returned to the car, where Kehswar was still seated. However, as Ramnarine was about to enter the car both he and Avery were shot several times.
Four people, including a woman, remain in police custody and are being questioned in connection with the killings.
Investigations are continuing.