Daring jailbreak in Trinidad

Police and soldiers surround the Port of Spain Prison.
Sunshine Newspaper

A daring jailbreak in the city of Port of Spain, Trinidad on Friday, July 24 left a policeman shot and killed, an inmate dead, while two others made their escape.

Shortly after midday, three prisoners, who are awaiting trial on murder and other violent offences burst through the prison’s door on Fredrick Street with blazing guns trying to shoot their way out to freedom, but one of them effort was short-lived as he was killed by police officers during a gun battle when he ran and hid in the guard booth at the nearby Port of Spain General Hospital.

Dead were police constable Sherman Maynard, 27, and murder accused Allan “Scanny” Martin, 42, one of the gang of men in the high profile murder case of businesswoman Vindra Naipaul Coolman. The trial is currently underway at the Port of Spain High Court.

The two other prisoners, Christopher “Monster” Selby 30, and Hassan Atwell, 41, who escaped through the hospital compound, were able to elude police. However, Atwell was found dead with multiple bullet wounds about his body the following day in a building in Laventille, a few miles from Port of Spain. He was waiting to be extradited to the United States for the 2005 alleged kidnapping of U.S. citizen Videsh Mohan.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has denied that the police were involved in the killing. He said his death is being treated as a murder.

The last escapee, Selby surrendered to police on Sunday evening with his attorney.

Reports are that around 12.30 pm the three escapees, two armed with guns started shooting as they ran to the front door of the prison demanding prison officers let them out and upon their escape threw a hand grenade, which failed to explode.

As the inmates came outside, they engaged the police who were on duty outside the prison. Two of them jumped into a car and tried to make their escape but the vehicle crashed near the hospital.

When the smoke was cleared Constable Maynard, who had joined the police service two years ago was shot while sitting in a police vehicle outside the jail and Martin, was found dead in the security booth at the hospital.

The high-noon drama in the capital caused panic among people forcing a number of business places to close and send home their workers.

It occurred three days before the anniversary of the 1990 attempted coup led by Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr. The two of the three escapees who were killed were members of the Black Muslim organization.

Prison and police officials have launched an investigation into how the guns entered the prison and got into the hands of the inmates.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has assured that all securities agencies are in “full control” and that criminals will face the full brunt of the law. She told a press conference on Friday evening that there was no need to call a state of emergency.

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