The killing of forklift driver Shazard Mohammed will be the
subject of a coroners inquest, sources revealed yesterday.
The file on the shooting is expected to be completed by Wednesday
after which investigators will hand it over Police Commissioner
Trevor Paul, who is assuring transparency in the investigation.
Paul is expected to study the file before forwarding it to
Director of Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson for further
Investigating officers of the Homicide Bureau said yesterday
that there were conflicting reports into the circumstances
under which Mohammed was shot.
A source, speaking under the condition of strict anonymity,
said homicide officers will today interview the Coast Guard
officer who fired the fatal shot.
Sources said the day after the incident the 29-year-old Coast
Guard officer, whose conduct is being called into question,
had been interviewed. But he is expected to be reinterviewed
because Mohammed has died.
Defence Force sources said yesterday that the Coast Guard
officer had not been suspended.
However, he has been given time off from duties as he was
deeply traumatised over the incident.
Mohammed, 25, of Francis Lalla Road, Charlieville, was shot
in the face, reportedly at point-blank range while fishing
in the Gulf of Paria, near a wreck outside the Port-of-Spain
harbour on August 28.
Mohammed and his brother-in-law Adesh Ramkissoon and friend
Avinash Ryan were on the familys 24-foot pirogue when
the Coast Guard officers approached and Mohammed was shot.
Police have already interviewed Ramkissoon and Ryan.
Mohammed, who had been battling for his life at the Intensive
Care Unit of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, succumbed
on Friday. He never regained consciousness.
Mohammed worked at a pharmaceutical company in Port-of-Spain
and fished on weekends.
Both the police and Defence Force personnel are conducting
They said the investigation was leading to an inquest.
Sources involved in the two probes said on that night the
Coast Guard officers, based at Staubles Bay, Chaguaramas,
were dispatched for routine sea patrol on a dinghy.
While on patrol the officers saw Mohammeds boat and
decided to check up on the fishermen.
Investigators said the Coast Guard officers did not suspect
Mohammed and the two others to be involved any drug or criminal
They said as the Coast Guard officers started to approach
Mohammeds pirogue from behind, Mohammed started his
engine and drove off, although the officers were shouting
Coast Guard, Coast Guard, and flashing their bright
light for identification.
The Coast Guard officers were dressed in full uniform, investigators
Homicide officers said as Mohammed pulled off the Coast Guard
officers summoned the Customs and Excise Marine Interdiction
Unit and their colleagues at Chaguaramas for assistance.
Investigators also believe that Mohammed (just as his bereaved
family said) may have thought the Coast Guard officers were
in fact pirates and decided to speed off.
Customs and Excise officers arrived and assisted the Coast
Investigators said when the Coast Guard officers tried to
intercept Mohammed, his (Mohammeds) boat slammed into
the dinghy which almost overturned.
The Coast Guard officer, now under investigation, fell in
the dinghy striking his head.
Investigators said that it was only after the dinghy was knocked
that the Coast Guard officers, in keeping with the Coast Guards
Regulations, fired at the getaway boat.
Military officers said yesterday that under their work Regulations
and Standing Orders once their life and/or Government property
is in danger they are allowed to protect their lives and/or
Government property by opening fire.
They also said that as Mohammeds boat rammed into the
dinghy there was no reason for any warning shot to be fired
because the officers lives and Government property were
Investigators said to bring a homicide charge against the
Coast Guard officer, the State must prove that he intended
to kill Mohammed.
A senior military officer said yesterday that the Coast Guard
had already convened a board of inquiry to determine exactly
He said the inquiry could take about two to three weeks as
all the Coast Guard officers must be questioned at length
He said the findings of the board would then be submitted
to the Chief of Defence Staff who will then take it directly
to National Security Minister Martin Joseph.
The police investigation, however, will go to Commissioner
Paul then to the DPP.
Paul, however, has the discretion to inform Joseph about the
Paul has promised that the findings of the probe will be made
Mohammed was laid to rest on Saturday. His relatives have
called for justice and a thorough investigation.
The day after the shooting hundreds of Muslims protested on
the Uriah Butler Highway, near Chief Brand Products.