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Slain teen bandit promised mom to change

Saturday, December 16, 2017
Shenelle Rock displays a photograph of her son Isaac Simmons, who was fatally shot by police during a robbery in Marabella on Thursday.

While many see the death of 15-year-old Isaac Simmons as poetic justice for robbing the home of a Republic Bank manager on Thursday, his short life has been riddled with bad influence, poor decision making and stigmatisation.

Simmons’ mother, Shenelle Rock, told the T&T Guardian yesterday that while she admitted her son engaged in criminal activities, she believed his promise he would change. But she said living in the impoverished train line community, in the shadow of the affluent Gopaul Lands development, meant Simmons was never given a chance by society.

Standing outside her home yesterday, Rock said police always had their eyes on her son because of close relatives who were known to be involved in criminal activities. Rock claimed police would always stop and search them, even planting drugs on the young men in the area. As a result, Simmons and her elder son would run every time they saw a patrol.

It was only on Wednesday that a Chaguanas magistrate placed Simmons on a bond to keep the peace for two years after he was found guilty of possession of marijuana at the Carapichaima Secondary School.

“They’ve (Simmons and his brother) been doing little things in between and they were caught. They served their time in the police station, court and YTC and they were willing to change,” Rock said.

She recalled yesterday that Simmons was asleep when he was called out by a friend on Thursday. Believing in his promise to behave, she did not object to him leaving. However, when gunshots rang out she said she felt a pain in her gut.

“I heard that my son surrendered, the police did not have the kill him like that. The child now got a two-year bond to behave himself.”

But police told the Guardian that Simmons was armed when he fled the robbery scene. They said when Simmons realised he was cornered by police, he began firing wildly. Rock said she did not know where her son got the gun from, but suspects it was given to him by a 17-year-old relative who was held by police at the house, or the suspect who escaped and was still being sought up to yesterday.

The train line community is frequently patrolled by police, who said it is home to several drug pushers and bandits. Among the poverty and crime are many children, who ACP Harry Baldeo said will be looked after by the police. Baldeo said in the coming weeks, the community police will be going into the area in the hope of making a positive intervention.

Gopaul Land residents have blamed the train line community for several robberies in the area.

When the T&T Guardian visited the home where Thursday’s robbery occurred, an occupant said he was too distraught to speak about the incident. Several other residents also declined to speak on the matter, but expressed concern with the rising rate of robberies during this Christmas season.


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