Lead Editor, Investigative Desk
A plot to assassinate the head of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) hatched within the walls of the Maximum Security Prison was foiled yesterday when officers from the elite police unit went to Laventille, Road, San Juan, to apprehend one of the main suspects who was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire.
The shootout occurred around 8.50 am near Ramesh and Leela Supermarket when officers intercepted a silver Tiida motorcar driven by Glean “Shooter” Bain who was allegedly on his way to pick up accomplices to track down the targeted SORT officer.
Acting on information, in an operation spearheaded by Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and SORT head Mark Hernandez, the officers confronted Bain along the Laventille Road. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) media release, Bain fired at the police who returned fire hitting him several times. Bain, of Febeau Village, San Juan, was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police recovered a Glock 30 pistol and eight rounds of .45 ammunition from the car as well as a fake driver’s permit with Bain’s photograph and the name Gerald John.
Senior police sources confirmed that Bain was part of an elaborate plan to execute SORT head, Mark Hernandez. The hit was ordered from within the prison in the last 48 hours by someone they believe contacted a high-risk inmate to co-ordinate and execute the operation.
Intelligence sources said the plan was credible and involved using high-powered weapons and explosives to target the head of the elite police unit. They said a substantial amount of money had already changed hands and Bain and other accomplices were promised the rest of the money once the job was completed.
Bain was on his way to pick up another hitman and weapons when he was intercepted by the police. He had seven warrants for shooting with intent, possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and other firearm-related offences.
Investigators said investigations are still at a sensitive stage as they are looking for several persons for questioning in connection with the assassination plot.
Several residents of the area gathered near the crime scene after the early morning shooing.
A resident said he was using his phone to record images of the crime scene when SORT officers attacked him and threatened him.
“I told them I was well within my constitutional right since I was not in their way,” he said.
The resident felt the officers should have exercised more caution in apprehending the suspect since the shooting happened at a time when children were on their way to school.
“They started to deal with the people real rough. I mean here not like outside we don’t riot and bun(sic) down. If something is wrong and we seeing children running, a child actually dive down because is the number of gunshots we hear and the child dive in the bush,” the resident explained.
Contacted for comment Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he had “no comment at this time.”
Bain was the seventh person shot and killed by the police for the year.