Dead are Tevin Alexander, 15, and cousin Hakeem Alexander,16, the latter winning bronze for this country in the Boys’ Under 17 3,000 metre race last year at the Carifta Games in Bahamas.
Police Service spokesman Insp Wayne Mystar told Newsday that at about 4.15 pm, officers from the Inter Agency Task Force and North Eastern Division responded to reports of gunshots in the Chinapoo area of Morvant.
He said that on arrival officers were met with gunfire forcing them to take cover and return gunfire which led to the Alexander cousins being shot. The teens were taken to Port-of-Spain General Hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival. Mystar said three suspects were arrested and two firearms recovered.
But relatives of the shot teens painted a different picture of events. They said the cousins were confronted by a gunman who had been “terrorising” the area since Christmas and who had tried to convert the cousins to Islam. Relatives said the teens were running from the gunman toward their grandmother’s home at Lezama Trace when they ran into the police officers at Superville Hill.
Tevin’s mother Lisa De Leon-Alexander claimed she witnessed the shooting. “The boys on running into the police, dropped to their knees, put their hands in the air and said, ‘we not in nothing’. They literally begged for their lives...but the police still killed them. They did not search them they just shot them,” she cried.
She further claimed that when relatives and others begged for the boys’ lives, the officers turned their guns on them. “How could you trust these same people after they turn around and violate your trust,” De Leon-Alexander asked.
De Leon-Alexander said she would like justice to be done but has no faith this would happen.
“I don’t want to hear sorry from this gracious Government and the Commissioner (of police) because that’s not going to bring my son back,” she said.
Tevin was a Form Four student of Belmont Boys Secondary and dreamed of becoming an IT technician. De Leon-Alexander recalled he stayed home from school yesterday because she did not have money to send him. Hakeem was on a court-ordered bond for fighting but Tevin had no run-ins with the law.
Hakeem was a student at Success Laventille Secondary but dropped out of school at Form Three due to frustration over the lack of opportunities at that school for track and field events.
He worked with his father at Peake’s Marine in Chaguaramas.
Hakeem’s father Henry Alexander said his son had been running since he was seven and showed off his son’s many trophies and medals. Hakeem attended the Carifta Games in Martinique this year but did not compete. Alexander said when he heard the news he was at work in Chaguaramas and could barely concentrate to drive home.
“I had my son this morning and I come home today to hear that police shoot him in he head,” Alexander said. Yesterday’s killing came days before Police Complaints Authority Director Gillian Lucky is to meet with Ag Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams tomorrow over the number of police killings.