Trinidad and Tobago
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PCA begins probe: Did police bullet graze boy after Pennywise heist?

Yvonne Webb Director of the Police Complaints Authority David West.
Director of the Police Complaints Authority David West.

DIRECTOR of the Police Complaints Authority David West has confirmed the PCA has started an investigation to determine whether the bullet which grazed a schoolboy during the deadly Pennywise robbery was police-issued.

The investigations follow allegations by the boy’s father, Dwayne Asson, that it was a police bullet which injured his son in the incident on September 19. The child is still recovering from surgery at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).

Asson, a member of the TT Coast Guard, has retained attorneys CJ Williams and Kezia Gibson to seek his family’s interest.

Williams said the Asson family just want accountability and an explanation of how their son was injured.

West told Newsday on Wednesday Asson had spoken with him and an investigation has started.

“He (also) spoke with an investigator (from the PCA) and we are taking it as part of the whole police-involved shooting of the four suspects.”

West said relatives of the four suspects had not filed any formal complaints with the PCA, but the investigation surrounds what is in the public domain, including media reports of the incident.

The boy, a student of Siparia RC Primary School, was grazed on the face while with his family in a car driving along the Southern Main Road, near Pond Street, La Romaine. Police were chasing a group of men who robbed and killed two security guards and wounded a third, while the guards were transporting cash from businesses in the Pennywise La Romaine centre.

Gunmen attacked and killed Allied security officers Jeffrey Peters, 51, and Jerry “Bat” Stuart, 49. They died in the vehicle in which they were transporting cash and cheques, collected from businesses operating in the La Romaine centre, to be deposited.

Female officer Peola Baptiste, 57, survived the gun attack, but is still said to be in a critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.

Allister Harris, 47, a security guard employed with another company, was also shot. He was treated and discharged. West said Harris’s shooting will also factor in their investigations as they receive ballistic reports.

Police later cornered the suspects at a house in La Romaine and four of them were killed. They were identified as Greg Dodough, Deaundre Montrose and brothers Kyle and Keyon Ramdhan.

Four other suspects have been charged for gun-related offences and are now before the courts. A soldier whose vehicle was used by the dead men was also detained by police but later released after his attorney filed a writ of habeas corpus.

In a telephone interview, on Wednesday, Asson said he was a bit comforted that the PCA had started an investigation, because he wants answers and justice for his son. He said he has been getting resistance from the police to file a report.

He said his four children – nine, 11, 13 and 15 – were in the car with his wife when his son was shot, and they are all traumatised.

“They are afraid to get into the vehicle. They all need counselling.”

While his son is recovering from the surgery, he is not doing well mentally.

He has already missed out on two weeks of school and Asson expects it may be another two weeks, if all goes well, before he can go back.