The father of the three children who survived Thursday night’s ambush in which gunmen killed their mother and elder stepsister is longing to be reunited with them. However, the Children’s Authority will continue to keep the children in its care until the appropriate time, as there are several interventions and help lined up for them.
Nankishore Bissoon, the father of the children and widower to Sandy Khan, 37, told relatives yesterday that he is not sure when he will be able to see his children again but understands why the police took them away from the scene on Thursday.
Bissoon, who was said to be still in shock over the incident, pleaded with his neighbours to assist the police with any information that might help them in solving the murders.
Speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, the authority’s Public Education and Communications Manager Cheryl Moses-Williams said the children remain traumatised, “which is why before any intervention takes place, we need to stabilise them.” She, however, assured that physically they are good.
“They are processing… in fact quite active…but as our psychologists note…the children will experience a range of emotions and we need to allow them to process and experience them,” Moses-Williams said.
She said in the interim, the authority will evaluate the children’s needs to determine the appropriate intervention, which includes therapeutic and counselling.
“However, this will be based on their needs and age because they are of varying ages.”
As pertains to long-term care, Moses-Williams said the authority will be looking at their support circle to identify any suitable individual, who, after being assessed for their suitability, will be granted the opportunity to care for the children.
“The authority will also support those persons by helping them build their capacity to provide for the needs of the children,” she said.
Moses-Williams said the authority will also provide support to the police as part of their criminal investigation.
“We will also collaborate with other agencies within the child protection sector to ensure that the children get the best possible care and protection. There will be ongoing monitoring by the Children’s Authority.”
Yesterday at the children’s Caripichaima home, where the ambush took place, police spent hours talking with family members and neighbours.
A neighbour, who wished not to be identified, said the area is usually quiet but oftentimes they heard quarrelling coming from Khan’s home.
“All the time we will hear quarrelling and fighting but still we do not know if the murders are linked domestic or otherwise because Sandy was the owner of a very popular flower shop in Cunupia and her daughter Steffy worked with her and her father’s barbecue and grill stop right there at Jerningham Junction in Cunupia,” the neighbour said.
“That night we saw nothing strange but heard the shots which initially sounded like bamboo bussing but then we saw Steffy’s boyfriend covered in blood walking down the street and getting into a car with another Spanish and driving off. We only realised that something happened when we saw the man (Bissoon, Sandy’s husband) and his three children standing up in the yard. Like they were now reversing out of the yard when the gunmen walked up to them and shot all three of them. The gunmen then escaped in awaiting vehicle.”
According to a police report, at about 7.21 pm on Thursday, the first responders found Khan (Sandy) lying outside the front driver’s door and Steffy in the left rear passenger seat. Both women were shot several times by two gunmen wearing masks who walked up to the vehicle as it was about to reverse out of the yard.
The driver, a 20-year-old Venezuelan man of Munroe Road, Cunupia, was also shot multiple times but escaped and got help from another Venezuelan man who took him to the Chaguanas Health Facility for treatment. He was subsequently transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope and is currently warded in a serious condition.
The three minors—all girls, ages eight, seven and one—were standing in the yard at the time of the shooting and were said to have witnessed it. However, they weren’t hurt during the ambush. Police officers took them to the Chaguanas Police Station and they are now in the care of the Children’s Authority pending enquires. At the scene, police found five spent 9 mm shells.
A motive is yet to be determined for the double murder.