Police determined the 35-year-old suspect is a member of the protective service after determining the device was a flash (stun) grenade which is primarily used by law enforcement officers.
Off-duty law enforcement officers who witnessed the attack recognised the suspect whose image was also captured on video footage secured from two surveillance cameras at George Street.
Last night investigators had an arrest warrant prepared for the suspect who they believed went into hiding on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain.
In a statement earlier yesterday, the Police Service communication department disclosed the attack was the result of a “love affair gone awry”. Sources revealed the woman, also a law enforcement officer who is in her 20s, began a relationship with a teenager which angered the suspect. They added that the suspect had previously stalked the woman.
The teenager, Shorn Roberts sustained a flesh wound. Roberts, 18, yesterday said he was not part of any love triangle and had only met the woman three weeks ago and hung out with her a few times on the Brian Lara Promenade. Police sources said the suspect is of African descent and slim to medium-build. He wore a red jersey, and carried two white bags, one which contained the grenade. He reportedly pulled out the device and flung it in the direction of people waiting for taxis at the Morvant/Trou Macaque taxi stand.
Roberts, who was at the taxi stand with the woman, slumped to the ground and clutched the left side of his abdomen after he suffered a flesh wound. The woman ran off and is believed to be in hiding.
Police officers were alerted and when they arrived, the area was cordoned off and people ran in all directions. Roberts was taken by ambulance to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he was kept overnight and discharged yesterday.
Bomb Squad experts collected fragments of the device and turned the evidence over to the Special Anti Crime Unit (SAUTT). Tests done by SAUTT experts at the Cumuto base revealed the device was a flash grenade, also known as a stun grenade which is a non-lethal, non-shrapnel producing device used to confuse or distract persons who may be a threat.
An eyewitness said he was purchasing doubles when he heard the explosion.
“I thought it was a blown transformer, but when I heard sirens and saw people running towards George Street, I realised something was wrong,” said the eyewitness. Police Commissioner Trevor Paul, who went to the scene about midnight, said yesterday the incident is not related to the 2005 bombings in Port-of-Spain.
He also assured the attack had not compromised security in and around Port-of-Spain, where a Caricom Security Ministers meeting began at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s yesterday.
Questioned by reporters as he emerged from the Hilton, Paul said it was understandable that concerns would be raised about security as the explosion took place on the eve of the conference. Minister of National Security Martin Joseph said, “on the basis of what we have been told by law enforcement, we do not have to be worried about any larger issue.”
Prime Minister Patrick Manning raised his hands as he emerged after addressing the meeting of the Caricom Security Ministers and said to reporters, “We’ll talk tomorrow (today).”
Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday condemned Wednesday night’s attack and said it was ironic that it took place hours after Prime Minister Patrick Manning addressed the nation about the “unacceptable level of criminal activity” in the country.
Panday said while the motive for the attack was unclear it seemed as if some citizens have become increasingly “enraged and fed-up” by all of the society’s problems and Government’s inability to address them.