Harrowing screams echoed through a New Grant community on Sunday night after a 33-year-old man went on a deadly rampage, hacking two of his relatives to death and leaving two others nursing serious injuries.
The attacks took place at two homes at Farmer Trace, Sancho Road, New Grant sometime before 11 pm.
Dead are Anterro McQueen, 52, a straightener and his sister-in-law Monica Jagroop, 35, a mother of two. Jagroop’s father Manickchand Jaroop, 72, a pensioner, and her sister Indra Jagroop, a Play Whe booth operator, were chopped multiple times and are in a serious condition at the hospital. During the attack, Indra Jagroop’s left hand was completely severed.
While investigators are looking at a land dispute as the possible motive, relatives disagreed. One relative believes the suspect was acting under the influence of alcohol while another relative speculated that his deadly actions were linked to a blood religious ceremony.
A police report stated that around 10.50 pm, Indra and her husband were at home when the suspect called out their names. When McQueen came out, the suspect immediately attacked him, chopping him on his neck. When Indra Jagroop ran to her husband’s assistance, the suspect also attacked her, chopping her on her face, shoulder and arms. On hearing the commotion, Indra’s father came out and he too was chopped on his face.
The suspect then went to Jagroop’s home, a few houses away. It is believed that she was coming out of her house after hearing the screams when he chopped her several times, including on her neck.
Still visibly shaken yesterday, hours after the bloody rampage, Myna Jagroop, 71, Manickchand’s wife and Monica and Indra’s mother, was still trying to understand what happened. She told reporters the incident occurred about a few minutes after Indra Jagroop and McQueen returned home after attending his (McQueen) mother’s birthday lime at Cocoyea Village, San Fernando. They live in the same house as Myna Jagroop and her husband, but they stayed downstairs with their two children ages eight and 15.
She said she heard talking outside and went to investigate. She saw McQueen in a sitting position on a bench with his head against their car.
She recalled, “Ah say what happen like yuh drunk. Then meh daughter tell me, she say no (name call) chop him…he (suspect) was right there. By that time meh husband done come out behind me already. He (suspect) run up and put some chop on him, but he did done chop meh daughter as soon as she come out.”
The woman said the suspect then went across the road by her daughter Monica.
“Meh son-in-law dead on the spot. Meh daughter dead on spot. Meh husband I don’t know how much chop he get. Meh daughter hand chop somewhere by the wrist. One of the hand cut out.”
She doesn’t believe that the attacks had anything to do with a land dispute. Myna Jagroop added, “I think when a man cannot control himself when he drink that is it but I don’t know who may say what and whatever but they always have a little this and that with one another but when you drink, somebody must be irritate him down the road and he come and take it out here. All what he wanted to do he do.”
While the family always had their “lil fight and quarrel,” Myna Jagroop said it’s the first time the suspect displayed this level of violence.
“I really don’t want to see him, honestly. I cannot help it I don’t want to see him anymore. He put meh through too much of stress, too much. It have little children and to know that their father dead on spot,” she lamented.
She said her daughter Monica Jagroop was a single mother and lived alone with her two children ages 13 and 15. Meanwhile, Myna’s son Ricky Jagroop who lived nearby believed the suspect’s deadly rage was linked to a goat sacrifice that was done in September as part of a religious ceremony. He said he did not want anything to do with the blood sacrifice and has kept away from his relatives. But, he said since then there has been a lot of problems and bickering in the family.
Ricky said other relatives and neighbours tried to hold back the suspect but they could not control him.
“He was jumping about three feet high and swinging the blade in the air in the road. It was real horrible. He wasn’t in his right mind,” he said.
Princes Town Regional Corporation chairman Gowrie Roopnarine who lives in the area expressed condolences to the family.
“It is so sad I know the family very well, one of the teachers of the Princes Town West Secondary liaise with me today and the Ministry of Social Development will be visiting the family as well since one of the child is attending school there.” He also promised to assist the family.
Up to late yesterday, the suspect was still on the loose.
Frustrations linked to violence
Meanwhile, criminologist Dr Randy Seepersad says studies show that when a population is frustrated there is an increase in violence.
“There is actually a criminological literature that supports the idea that anything that increases frustration in a population is going to send up rates of violent crimes,” said Seepersad in an interview with Guardian Media
He was asked to comment on the recent incidents of violence stemming from disputes over land and other issues. Deputy Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob recently noted that 33 per cent of the 300 plus murders were related to fallouts, usually from land disputes or relationships gone sour.
Seepersad said economic equalities is also linked to violent crime as people have a deep sense of frustration as they feel that the system is unjust.
“The types of measures that have been put in place put people in a context where they are close to their neighbours, where they are close to family members, so if people lash out you may find that the victims may tend to be persons in near proximity or people with whom people may commonly associate with such as neighbours, family members, even spouses so it wouldn’t be surprising all under the current situation to see certain types of crimes increasing, especially those involving domestic matters whether it is even sexual offences, whether it is domestic violence, neighbours getting angry with neighbours, all those kinds of things there is likely to be that kind of fall-out,” he said.