Three days after 34-year-old Vincent “Chinee” Moore of Prizgar Road in Laventille was killed during a police-involved shooting at his home, relatives are challenging investigators to come to their home to search for any evidence that will prove that their loved one shot at the police, forcing them to return fire.
In their cry for justice, the man’s relatives stated there were no bullet holes anywhere in the house, walls or ground that would suggest that there was a shoot-out with police officers there, on Wednesday morning at about 3 am.
Speaking with Guardian Media, relatives said Moore’s 73-year-old mother was right there with him when he was shot by police officers.
“My brother and mother was sitting right there on the bed. He opened the door for the police to come in. The police hold him and was walking right behind him to another room. They told my mother to throw a sheet over her and put a pillow over her head. She then heard four gunshots and the autopsy showed that he was shot that same amount to the back of his head,” Moore’s relative said.
“There was no shootout. My brother had no gun because if he had a gun, my mother would have gotten shot in the shootout, but it had no shoot out. If he had a gun, he would have never opened the door for the police to come in,” the relative added.
Relatives also alleged that after Moore was shot, he was wrapped in a bed sheet and dragged out of the house onto the road and placed in an Xtrail police vehicle. They added that his body was brought to the hospital sometime after 8 am that said morning.
“So they put my brother body in the Xtrail after 3 am and when we went to the hospital the body wasn’t brought in ‘til after 8 am. So where was the body? What did the police do with him? They assassinate him for something he didn’t do. We want justice!” Moore’s relatives states.
An official release from the T&T Police Service was issued hours after the incident on Wednesday. It stated that “a suspect who had a record of 16 criminal charges including murder, was shot dead by police in the Laventille district early this morning”.
The release added that officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force were conducting an anti-crime exercise at about 4.20 am on Wednesday 15th April 2020, during which they proceeded to the Upper Prizgar Road, Laventille, home of a 34-year-old man to execute a search warrant for arms and ammunition.
The release went on to say that upon entering the premises, officers called out to the suspect, who emerged armed with a gun and shot at them. The police statement noted that officers returned fire, hitting the gunman and that the wounded man was rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital for treatment, where he died shortly after.
“It is standard operating procedure that when anyone is wounded, a suspect or not, the police must take him to the hospital to ensure he has a chance of survival,” the release stated. “The victim was identified as Vincent Moore, aka ‘Chinee’, who had a record of 16 charges including possession of firearm and ammunition; possession of firearm and ammunition to endanger lives, wounding with intent, and possession of marijuana. Moore was released from prison recently on a charge of murder.”
It added: “One pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition and one spent shell were recovered from the scene. No officers were injured during the incident. Initial investigations revealed that only the police officers and the victim were in the room during the shooting. The only other person in the house was a 73-year-old woman who was in another room. Officers of the Port of Spain Criminal Investigations Department are continuing investigations.”
The release also stated: “Following the shooting, residents of the area claimed that Moore did not have a gun and never shot at the police.”
The release also mentioned that Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, “finds it amazing that every time someone is killed by the police, especially during the night, there are witnesses who see through walls and around corners with their bionic eyes. But when hundreds of persons are killed each year, these witnesses never see anything or cannot be located. The CoP is hoping that maybe one day, people would see something or say something when persons are murdered.”
The release also quotes Commissioner Griffith as saying he “is tired of the Road March talk that people always describe the victim “as a good boy, who was not involved in anything, that he was not armed, and that the police were never at risk of being injured or killed.”
It went on: “The CoP wishes to note, from his experience, that in a fire fight or an assault in a house or room, it lasts just 3-5 seconds. So when there is a shooting at night, it seems there is always someone sitting in a room, wide awake, with their eyes wide open to see what was happening.”
“The CoP says any loss of life is the loss of another citizen. He notes that there is always an outcry when someone is killed by the police. He would like to see the same outcry when citizens are killed, or when individuals are killed during gang warfare,” the released added.
Vincent Moore’s relatives have refuted the Police Service’s official release and are calling on investigators to come to the house to check for evidence that will dis-prove the police’s claims of what happened that morning, when compared against their recounting of the events that unfolded.
Head of the Police Complaints Authority, David West said an investigation has been launched but admitted that they are limited in their investigations.
“The PCA are one of the many institutions affected by the Stay at Home Policy, but we are working from home, doing as much as possible via internet.”