Mark Bassant

Relatives of 46-year-old Billy “Gagamel” Toussaint are claiming the police version surrounding the shooting of their loved one in Maraval on Thursday night is far from what really transpired.

Toussaint, of Latin Trace, Cameron Hill, Maraval, was shot and killed by police while they were in the area allegedly searching for a wanted man close to 11,30 p.m on that night.

“What really happened is that the police got a report about a notorious killer in the area and they came up to the Latin area. But they were not greeted by gunfire as the police said. Rather the police came up here in a black unmarked Nissan X-trail and stopped out of the road. They came in running from the road into an alley and was shooting the place up and Billy and other persons were standing there. The police say doh run stand up. But Billy ran,” said a relative who spoke to Guardian Media on the condition of anonymity yesterday.

The relative explained that Toussaint decided to run when he saw everyone else running.

The men, the relative said, had been drinking and liming when the police came.

“Billy run and hide behind a 12-inch column and people who nearby saw the police shooting at him behind the column. The police tell Billy to come out from behind the column. Billy put his hands up in the air with the beer in one of his hands and step out from behind the column. One of the officers shone a torchlight in his face and shot him just like that,” claimed the relative.

“That was an unjust act by the police,” the relative ranted.

“Ask anyone inside this area or outside they will tell you that Billy real humble. He did his gardening and masonry at times but he was never in trouble with the law or had any convictions,” contended the relative.

The relative added that a long time ago Toussaint had been held with a joint of marijuana by police but was never charged.

The relative said Toussaint was the sole breadwinner of his home and a single father of two boys, ages 15 and 20.

The relative recalled that one month ago that Toussaint had made a report to the Maraval Police Station after a police officer from the area had allegedly threatened him involving a land issue.

“He even went to the Police Complaints Authority where he made a report and we have the receipt of all that,” said the relative.

Toussaint’s famil, the relative claimed, owned several parcels of land in the area and he had been tending to some crops on that land after being given permission by his uncle.

“But the police officer came and told him to leave and said this is his land,” recalled the relative.

However, the police version of the events was different.

Investigators said they went to the area acting on information they received, which alleged that Toussaint and a group of men were all armed with firearms and assembled at Cameron Hill.

Upon arrival, police saw the group under a mango tree.

The party of officers approached with the intent to apprehend the men.

Reports are that the police officers were fired upon by them, and returned fire, in accordance with the TTPS use of force policy.

Toussaint, a member of the group, suffered gunshot wounds and was taken to the St James Medical Complex where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The other men escaped.— with reporting by Rhondor Dowlat Rostant