John died after he was shot in the Arima market last Saturday morning.

“My son was a harden boy and all the talk to change his lifestyle, he never did and this is the end result,” is how Carol Daniel remembered her son, Wendell Daniel, who killed John.

Daniel was shot dead by police in Carapo late last Saturday.

These are the tales of two mothers, on either side of a murder, which led to the fatal police shooting of the killer.

Although they were both at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, yesterday, neither of these women met face to face.

Rosemary moved back and forth from outside the centre to the waiting/reception area, to the forensic office, to the interview room and to the waiting/reception area again, while Carol, just sat quietly in the third row of seats, supported by two relatives.

Rosemary said John, although playful, was a good policeman and was well-known and loved by everyone. When John was alive, he always believed no harm would come to him.

“He always used to tell me, ‘Mummy, nobody would ever do me anything.’ He strongly believed that and I did too. This is just so senseless, it is just so unbelievable and unimaginable. I cannot describe to you how and what I am really going through,” Rosemary said.

John, 27, was based at the Tunapuna Police Station and lived at La Horquetta. He was the father of a three-year-old daughter, Britney, and an eight-month-old son, Josiah.

Carol also thought of Daniel, the main suspect in John’s shooting death, as loving and kind but admitted he was just “harden”.

Carol said Daniel, 38, was always in and out of prison for robberies and no matter how she tried talking to him to change his lifestyle, he never did.

“He was just harden and this is the result. He followed bad company and I always tried talking to him about that but he never listened. I never knew him to have a gun but hearing that, does not surprise me. It is very sad to know that he had to go this way but it is because he was too harden,” Carol said. The last time Carol saw her son was when he was released from prison in February this year after serving two months imprisonment for failing to show up in court for a matter. “He was always in and out of prison for robberies,” she said.

At about 10.45 am, two special visitors arrived at the Forensic Centre: Minister of National Security Brigadier John Sandy and Acting Police Commissioner James Philbert.

Philbert first approached John’s mother who was standing outside the centre at the time. As he extended his condolences, Rosemary began to cry and Philbert embraced her.

After a few minutes, Philbert left her and returned to his vehicle where he entered and sat in the front passenger seat. Shortly after, he got out again and this time was followed by Sandy, who had been sitting in the back seat.

As Sandy and Philbert approached the building, an inconsolable Rosemary walked into the waiting/reception area. They followed her and met with her right behind the centre’s front door. With one hand on her shoulder, Sandy spoke to Rosemary for a few minutes.

Sandy said he was there to extend his condolences to Rosemary, and would make a recommendation for John to receive a posthumous national award. He hailed John as “a true heroic policeman, who could not have kept himself away from doing his true duties.” Sandy said he knew John’s sister as she worked with him for “a bit” about a year ago.

“I never met him (John), I only heard of him. What can you tell a parent when that parent loses a child like that. It is heart-rending but God knows best. I want him to be remembered as a hero,” Sandy said.

The Minister revealed he had measures in place to deal with illegal firearms on the streets and although not disclosing what those plans are, he said it will be implemented “almost immediately.” Government recently laid three Bills in the House of Representatives to deal with firearms and gangs, and Sandy last Friday proposed a plan that would include the assistance of 20,000 private security officers. John was also praised as a “hero” by Philbert, who said the young officer, “paid the price with his life for his zero tolerance against crime.”

Philbert said he saw John while he was receiving emergency treatment at the Arima Health Facility, shortly after he was shot, and commended the doctors and nurses for their efforts.

“They did everything possible for him (John). I saw the nature of the injury and I knew it would have been difficult for him to pull through but I praise him for one thing and that was his zero tolerance against crime. He paid with his life for taking action,” Philbert said. “I spoke to his mother and I think I know how it feels, her having lost her son. It is indeed a tragedy. Something that appears so simple, gone are the days where someone will just run off.”

Philbert said he awaits the implementation of stiffer measures against persons held with illegal firearms.

“Something like this happens when there is an availability of guns on the streets and I await the stiffer measures that will deter a person from acquiring illegal firearms and also that would deter them from moving around with them and making use of the firearms in the streets, in such simple fashion,” he said.

When asked about equipping off-duty officers with firearms, Philbert replied, “I know I have discussed this matter several times over. It ought to be reconsidered but there are certain guidelines to follow. While I want to make sure police officers are prepared to deal with crime there are measures to take with respect to firearms. We value officers’ lives and I would not like something like this to happen again but we must follow rules.”

Last Saturday, John went to a fruit stall at the Arima market when he observed a man urinating on one of the empty vegetable stalls. John walked up to the man and advised him against urinating on the stall. It is believed that man was Daniel, who reportedly pulled out a gun from his pocket and pointed the firearm at John, who tried to wrestle the weapon from him. During the struggle, Daniel fired, shooting John twice in the chest and once in the forehead. As John slumped to the ground Daniel fled. Police believe Daniel was at the market to commit robbery and John became alert when he spotted the gun on Daniel while he was urinating.

Police officers later went to Carapo, at about 5 pm that same day, where they confronted Daniel, as the suspect in the shooting. The officers were fired upon and they shot back, injuring Daniel. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Arima Health Facility, where efforts were made to save John hours earlier.

Funeral arrangements for John are yet to be made and Philbert yesterday assured the Police Service will cover the expenses.



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