The injured officer, identified as PC Correy Mendoza, 26, underwent emergency surgery and shortly after midday yesterday, doctors again operated on the injured officer.
His appendix was removed; his intestines were found to be damaged, and his lungs inflamed.
His condition was described as guarded.
The three dead bandits were identified as Akeem Wayne, 25, of Mahaica, Point Fortin; Omari Wiltshire of La Brea, and Eneka Harry, of Second Caledonia, Morvant.
Acting Police Commissioner James Philbert and members of his executive along with President of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Cpl Emrol Bruce, and head of the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) Asp John Martinez and Inspector Sahadeo Singh, remained at the bedside of the injured officer before he underwent emergency surgery.
Reports revealed that at about 12.15 am yesterday, PC Mendoza, of the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU), was driving an unmarked police vehicle along the Eastern Main Road, Laventille, when four occupants of a gold Almera attempted to run him off the road in a robbery attempt.
PC Mendoza shot at the men, who returned fire and shot him three times in the back and abdomen. The injured officer telephoned for help gave a description of the car, and its license plate.
Officers of the E999 Unit responded and took the injured Mendoza to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
Other police units also responded and intercepted the car with the four occupants at Sixth Avenue, and Eastern Main Road, Barataria.
A shootout ensued between the police and the men and when the smoke cleared, three men were found bleeding from gunshot wounds. A fourth man escaped.
Two were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, and a third to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
All three were pronounced dead on arrival.
Police also recovered a 9mm gun from one of the men, and the car in which they were occupants was traced to be stolen.
Police believe that the men had intentions of robbing PC Mendoza of the car in which he was driving.
Desmond Thomas, uncle of Omari Wiltshire, interviewed by Newsday yesterday said his nephew had moved out from home at Patrick Street, La Brea, two months ago to live in Fyzabad. He returned home on Saturday afternoon, took up some clothes and said he was going out. He did not say where he was going. Yesterday morning Omari’s mother received a telephone call about Omari’s death, and she began to cry. Thomas said he knew nothing of the circumstances of Omari’s death.
The unmarked police vehicle, which was riddled with bullets was taken to the Besson Street Police Station, while the stolen Almera was checked for prints at Police Headquarters.
Yesterday Acting Police Commissioner James Philbert commended officers who responded swiftly to the report.
He also called on all police officers, especially those in unmarked police vehicles, to exercise extreme caution while on police duties. He also prayed for the full recovery of the injured officer and added that police will continue to maintain a strong presence at all times in a bid to deal with criminal elements.
President of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Cpl Emrol Bruce, when contacted on the shooting of the officer said, “We are saddened at the attack on our fellow officer, but as faith would have it God was on his side, and he was able to respond appropriately so that assistance could be rendered, and the bandits apprehended.
“We want to implore all officers who are in marked and unmarked vehicles to exercise extreme caution and be vigilant of their surroundings at all times. We advise them to wear whatever protection is available to them so that they can preserve themselves.
“In this case the officer was armed, and was able to repel the aggression which may have saved his life.”
Yesterday relatives of the dead bandits were informed of their deaths.
Colleagues of the injured officer held prayer meetings to pray for the swift recovery of their fellow officer.