Jabary Francois

Relatives of a police officer, who was killed in a shootout with a member of the T&T Coast Guard yesterday morning, have denied that he was involved in a love triangle.

Speaking with a team from Guardian Media at his home at Upper Irving Street in San Juan yesterday afternoon, Nick Anderson repeatedly denied rumours over the reason for the shooting, which were circulated on social media following reports of his brother Jomo Gulston’s death.

According to preliminary reports, around 2.20 am, police officer Gulston, 38, dropped a female friend off at North Post Road in Diego Martin.

However, Coast Guardsman Jabary Francois, 33, of Waterwheel Road, River Estate, Diego Martin, reportedly walked up to Gulston’s Nissan AD Wagon and tapped on the windshield. The men reportedly had a brief argument over the mutual female acquaintance before Francois, who was last assigned to the Coast Guard’s Special Naval Unit, drew a firearm and began shooting at Gulston, who returned fire with his 9 mm pistol.

Francois ran a short distance away before he collapsed and succumbed to a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest.

Gulston, who was last assigned to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB), was shot seven times but still managed to drive a short distance along St Lucien Road before he fell unconscious and crashed into a gate at a house at Dularie Private Road.

Both men were pronounced dead by a District Medical Officer (DMO).

Yesterday, Anderson claimed that his brother contacted him several times on Saturday night to join him at a “house lime” at Trou Macaque, Laventille.

“I could have been in the car as we would have gone together if I decided to go,” Anderson said.

He claimed that he knew the female friend his brother had dropped home before being attacked, as he met her several times in the past.

He claimed, although the woman, who is said to be a civilian staff member of the T&T Police Service (TTPS), had a car, his brother would sometimes drop her home after liming, as she had concerns over drinking and driving and crime within her community.

“That is how he was. He was always checking up on friends and relatives,” he said.

Anderson said his brother, who was a police officer for the past seven years, would not have been the aggressor in the argument and suggested that Francois was possibly in a “jealous rage” before he (Gulston) and the woman arrived at the location.

“He (Jomo) was not aggressive or confrontational. He would have just responded to the threat based on his training,” he said.

Anderson said he and other relatives were comforted by the fact that he was able to defend himself in the shooting. He noted that based on the ammunition found in his pistol, his brother discharged eight rounds and managed to hit Francois once after being shot.

He said his brother’s wife, who is eight months pregnant, went into early labour after getting the news of her husband’s death.

Speaking briefly with Guardian Media via telephone, his wife claimed that the news came as a shock.

“I don’t know anything because I am pregnant and I am in hospital. I don’t know what to say,” she said.

She also questioned why he was attacked, as she confirmed his brother’s claims over his calm temperament.

“He is not a person who fights fire with fire so I don’t understand what happened. He is not a person to quarrel and get upset. I never hear him curse,” she said.

She said that her last memories of Gulston was making plans and preparations for the birth of their son.

In a press release issued yesterday, the T&T Coast Guard acknowledged the incident involving one of its members.

“The T&T Coast Guard wishes to extend sincerest condolences to the families and friends of all those involved in this regrettable situation and wishes to assure the public of its continued dedication to the Republic of T&T and to the rule of law and order through cooperation with agencies within the national security framework,” public affairs officer Lieutenant Kerron Valere said.

Valere said that the Coast Guard would support the TTPS with its investigation into the double homicide.

Senior Supt Thompson, Supt Simmons, ASP Brown, Insp Grant, Sgt Harrypersad, PC Ramsawak and WPCs Aleong and Messiah visited the crime scene and are continuing investigations.