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Wednesday 21 August 2019
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Shot five times, jumps 20 feet to escape

A 36-YEAR-OLD police officer assigned to escort Justice Herbert Volney, jumped 20 feet into the Couva River on Saturday night to escape three bandits who shot him five times and  robbed him of his 9mm service pistol, ammunition, cash, and jewelry. A critically injured Constable Derrick Nelson was pulled from the river around midnight by residents of Milton Road, Couva, who rushed to the scene after hearing the gunshots. He was rushed to the Couva Health Facility where he was treated then transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital. Nelson underwent emergency surgery yesterday and was moved to Ward 4 of the hospital where he is in critical condition. Both legs were broken in the fall and he is being kept under heavy sedation. PC Nelson was on his way to visit his girlfriend on Saturday night when three occupants of  a silver grey car began firing in his direction. They struck the rear of his car, forcing him to stop, and dragged him out of his vehicle.

He was robbed of his pistol, ammunition, cash and jewelry. The gunmen shot him on both feet and when he attempted to run away he was shot three more times in the legs. PC Nelson said he saw a railing and, fearing for his life, decided to jump over to escape from the bandits.  He fell 20 feet into the Couva River and broke both legs. ACP Crime Oswyn Allard, Ag Supt Errol Denoon and other police officers who visited PC Nelson yesterday were  allowed only two minutes with him because of his condition. They said he appeared to be in excruciating pain. Later in the day, the injured officer was also visited by Police Commissioner Hilton Guy. Guy later expressed concern about recent attacks on police officers and was critical of reports of a recent incident in which “the media screamed police brutality.” He pointed out: “We have even more frequently seen where police officers are being attacked. It is with great interest that I am awaiting the next headline.”

Allard, who presented PC Nelson with a Bible, vowed: “ I will ensure that evil will never conquer goodness.” He described PC Nelson as one of the best and most supportive officers in the service. Allard told Newsday he was concerned that a service revolver with ammunition is in the hands of ruthless criminals. However, he  assured that every effort will be made to recover the gun and arrest the perpetrators. Investigators said the three suspects in the shooting of PC Nelson robbed a Carapichaima man of his car on Saturday. According to reports, at around 10.30 pm, Inocencia Cardinez, 32, was plying his car PBM 8803 along the St Mary’s/Chaguanas route when he picked up three men who dealt him several blows about the body, placed a gun to his head, put him in the back seat of the car. They later dropped him off at Forres Park, Couva. Police said the bandits were on their way to carry out robberies when they attacked PC Nelson along the unlit Rivulet Road.

They said the bandits were not aware that PC Nelson was a police officer when they decided to rob him. The suspects reportedly went to San Fernando early yesterday and carried out another robbery. All Police Divisions are on the lookout for the stolen car. Investigators said they believe criminals from the East/West Corridor have now shifted to Central Trinidad. Over the past three weeks, several persons have been robbed of their vehicles at gunpoint. PC Nelson joined the Port-of-Spain CID in 1993 and moved to the Crime Suppression Unit. He was then assigned to Justice Volney. Officers who do special duties and provide escort are assigned a service revolver even when they are off duty.

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