STACY MOORE and RYAN HAMILTON-DAVIS
THE second murder for the new year was recorded on Tuesday in Union Village, Couva, when a fish vendor was shot by a man wearing camouflage clothing. Samuel Sookdeo, 31, was with friends at 10.30 pm when a masked man walked up to the group and started shooting.
Sookdeo was shot in the head and chest and died on the spot. Another man identified as Patrick Samuel was shot in the back. Brandon Siew suffered injuries to his lower abdomen when a bullet grazed him. Siew and Samuel were taken to the Couva health facility where they were attended to and discharged.
A still shaken Siew told Newsday they were all sitting on the tray of a van in the yard of his home, talking and laughing, when they saw the man holding a gun run into the yard.
“By the time we saw this man, who looked like a soldier with a mask and this gun in his hand, it was too late for us to run. He began to shoot.
“There was no place for us go. I thought we all were going to die. I started to pray. It was one of the worst feelings.” He told Newsday the gunman’s target was Sookdeo. “He kept aiming his gun at Sookdeo. He shot him over and over to make sure Sookdeo was dead before he ran out the yard.”
MARKED FOR DEATH
At the Forensic Science Centre in St James, other relatives said they believed Sookdeo had been marked for death. His common-law wife, who asked not to be identified, admitted that her husband had in the past, transported illegal drugs for drug dealers. She insisted that about two years ago, Sookdeo changed his life when they began a relationship.
“I believe this is drug-related and that his past caught up with him. It is the only reason I can think why someone would want to kill him,” the woman said.
“They would use him as a transporter, but when I went to live with him he changed. He stopped everything that he was doing (illegally).”
“I never lived that life and I didn’t want to. I told him he had to choose between me or that kind of lifestyle. He chose me,” she added. “He stopped everything. He even cut off friends. He would just go to work and come home. He never even left the house without me.”
Sookdeo’s father Pone Sookdeo, 72, was inconsolable at his home yesterday. “He came by me to wish me a Happy New Year and then we hugged. That was the last time I saw him alive,” the man cried. Up to press time, no arrest was made.