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Mom, 44, killed, daughter critical

Published: 
Monday, December 11, 2017
Gunman storms Manzanilla bar

A 44-year-old mother of two was killed and her daughter and three other people were injured, after a gunman opened fire in a Manzanilla bar on Saturday night.

The attack, which left Savatri Narine dead and her 18-year-old daughter Nirrmalaa in critical condition at hospital last night, has thrown the entire village of Plum Road into mourning, with villagers saying they had never experienced such brutality in the quiet agricultural village.

Bar owner Bobby Ramsaran, a relative of the victims, and patrons Kurt Browne and Ivan McKenzie were also injured in the attack, but were all treated and discharged.

According to police reports, ten patrons were liming at the bar around 8.15 pm when the younger Narine had a conversation with a relative who had joined them at the bar and was having a drink. She went outside with the relative and returned inside the bar, but minutes later the relative came back inside armed with a gun and fired several shots at Nirrmalaa and her mother.

Nirrmalaa, who was standing next to McKenzie at the time, fell to the ground, as did her mother, who was nearby and tried to escape. Other patrons scampered for safety, some hiding under tables.

Speaking to the T&T Guardian yesterday, McKenzie was thanking God to be alive.

“I am lucky to be alive to tell the story,” the still nervous McKenzie said.

“I saw the man came in, bought a Stag, drank it and walked out of the bar. Nirrmalaa went out of bar and was talking with a male neighbour. She returned inside the bar. The man, who is known to her and is a relative, called her, telling her to bring the keys for his car, which he left on the table in the bar. She carried the keys for the relative and came back and stand next to me with her elbows leaning on my shoulder.

“I heard an explosion and saw Nirrmalaa going down on her knees, I heard second explosion and heard Savitri said ‘Oh God.’”

He said after firing several more shots the man ran outside, got into his car and drove off.

Two nurses attached to Sangre Grande Hospital, who live nearby, arrived within moments of the attack and performed CPR for over one hour on both victims before an ambulance could arrive. The victims were then taken to Sangre Grande Hospital, but Savitri was pronounced dead on arrival.

Retired police sergeant Clyde Bobb, who lives at the back of the bar, which is located on the same property as the family’s home, told T& T Guardian he was sitting outside his home when he heard three gunshots before hearing screaming coming from the bar and people also running into the establishment to see what had happened. He said when he ran to the bar he saw the Narines on the ground covered in blood.

Bobb said the 60-year-old gunman allegedly had an argument with Nirrmalaa over a vehicle he lent her, which he took back after raising an issue about a relationship she recently started.

Bar owner Ramsaran, who is Savitri’s brother, said his sister did not deserve to die in such a manner. He said she worked hard to earn a decent living. He added, however, that the other people in the bar were lucky to escape since the gunman fired several shots indiscriminately.

“I ducked, otherwise I would have been dead, bullets only grazed the back of my neck and head,” he said.

Gangadaye Ramsaran, mother of the deceased, said her daughter celebrated her birthday a few days ago, adding she was still in shock over the attack.

The suspect, who was a PH taxi driver and also did odd jobs in the community, surrendered to Manzanilla police around 6.40 yesterday. He was interviewed and subsequently transferred to the Arouca Police Station. Investigating officers from Homicide Region II Arouca said they believed the shooting stemmed from a love triangle that went sour.

The murder of Narine took the murder toll to 468 for the year. And autopsy is expected to be performed at Forensic Sciences Centre, St James, today.

RALPH BANWARIE