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2 Killed, Suspect Wounded in Valencia Shooting

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A member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force was among two people gunned down while liming at a bar at Valencia early yesterday.

Moments after the incident at D Rum Shop Bar, a suspect was shot and wounded by an off-duty police officer while he attempted to flee the scene.

Up to late yesterday, the suspect, who police said lives at Arima, was fighting for his life at hospital. His lungs have collapsed and his chances of surviving are slim, police said they were told by doctors.

The two dead men have been identified by police as Army Sgt George Sheldon Froix, 40, of Orchid Gardens, Edinburgh Gardens, Chaguanas and Kern “Chucky” Mitchell, 24, of Calvary Hill, Arima.

Froix was shot about the body and died while undergoing emergency surgery at the Arima District Hospital after he was taken to the facility by his colleagues.

Mitchell died at the scene of the incident.

Police said around 2.30 a.m. yesterday Mitchell and Froix were liming outside the bar, which is owned by a police officer, when a man approached and opened fire on Mitchell. As Mitchell fell to the ground, the suspect walked up to him and pumped more bullets into him.

Police said while the suspect was casually walking away from the scene, he was confronted by PC Trevor “Frankie” Halls, an off-duty police officer assigned to the Traffic Branch and Highway Patrol, who was a patron at the bar.

Halls, police said, drew his service pistol and announced his presence and called on the suspect to drop his weapon and surrender. The suspect refused and pointed a pistol in the direction of Halls, who opened fire.

As Halls and the suspect traded bullets, patrons began to scamper for safety, screaming and running in different directions. Froix, who was seated, attempted to get up and was shot.

Halls managed to shoot the suspect several times about the body before the man ran off.

He was pursued and later found in a pool of blood in a nearby yard, clutching the pistol in his hand.

Ballistics tests will be conducted to see if the bullet from the suspect’s gun killed Froix.

When the Sunday Express visited the area yesterday, several people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect should have been in the morgue next to the two people he shot and killed.

It was business as usual at the bar.

Police Sgt Simon Gill, the owner of the bar, was seen speaking with another man outside the establishment shortly before they both left in a vehicle.

“He is the hospital? What hospital you telling me about. He should have been shot dead by the police officer. You live by the gun and and you die by the gun. Is ah good thing the officer was around else we would have never knew who did this or even find him,” said one resident.

Another heaped praises on Halls, saying that it was a good thing that some off-duty cops were allowed to keep their firearms.

This is not the first time Halls came face-to-face with a gunman while off duty.

On February 4, 2009, Halls shot and killed 22-year-old Andrew “Wintey” Williams during an attempted robbery.

Williams, of Marcano Quarry, East Dry River in Port of Spain, had attempted to rob Halls of a gold chain which the officer was approaching his vehicle at the corner of Tenth Street and Ninth Avenue, Barataria.

The bandit walked up to Hall, pointed a .357 Magnum to his head and began grabbing the chain. Both police and bandit struggled as he attempted to rip the chain off the officer’s neck.

Halls, who was then attached to the now defunct Repeat Offenders Programme Task Force (ROPTF), shot and killed Williams during the struggle.

In a media release issued yesterday, Captain Al Alexander, Civil Military Affairs officer at the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, said Froix was liming with some of his colleagues at D Rum Shop Bar when he was shot by the suspect.

Froix, Alexander said, was shot in the left hip by a stray bullet and succumbed to his injuries at the Arima District Hospital shortly after he was taken to the facility for medical treatment.

He was born on July 13, 1971 and was enlisted into the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment on the August 1, 1992.  He was a member of Charlie Company at Camp Ogden and was currently employed at the Stores Department at the Defence Force Headquarters Chaguaramas.

He has a nine-year-old son- Jeantau Froix with his wife Taran Cumberbatch.

“The Chief of Defence Staff, officers, men and women of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force extend their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant Froix.  May they receive strength and guidance from almighty God during their time of grief,” Alexander said.

Froix will receive a military funeral service after an autopsy is performed on his body on Wednesday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James.

A team of officers from the Eastern Division and The Region II Homicide Bureau of Investigations led by ASP Lewis, Insp Worrel, Sgt Dillon, Austin Cpl Leith Jones, WPC Nicole Andrews and Lieutenants Carter and Ferguson of the TTDF, visited the scene. Lewis is probing the incident.

(Source http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/2_killed__suspect_wounded_in_Valencia_shooting-136194028.html)



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