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Explosive device was a grenade

Forensic results reveal: Explosive device was a grenade

By Denyse Renne

Forensic results have revealed that the explosive device used in last Friday's shoot-out between police and bandits was a hand grenade.

Sources said shrapnel was found in the roof of the marked police Ford Taurus.

PC Omar Marajah's 9-mm revolver was also found melted in the car.

Marajah, 43, suffered burns to 95 per cent of his body while in the car, which exploded.

He died from a gunshot wound to the chest and blast injury.

The bullet is said to have punctured his lungs.

Marajah and another constable were responding to a robbery at JSL Speedpak Complex, Piarco.

Police said when they arrived they were attacked with rapid gunfire from three bandits.

Police reports further stated that they returned fire and Marajah was shot on the right side of his chest.

The car exploded while he was still inside.

When the melee was over, two bandits, Dale Benjamin, 28, of Coconut Drive, Morvant, and Jason Alexander, 28, of Second Caledonia, Morvant, were dead.

A third suspect managed to escape.

Sources said further forensic tests would be done today to determine the origin of the grenade.

However, they said they suspected that the grenade, along with other arms and ammunition might have been smuggled by sea from Venezuela.

Investigators said Benjamin, a former mechanic with the Coast Guard, and Alexander were well known to them, having had several charges for armed robbery, possession of arms and ammunition and other matters pending at various courts.

They also had close connections with a well-known Morvant “community leader” who investigators said they believed might be the source of the grenade and guns.

Sources said they were close to finding a 28-year-old Morvant man who had been on the run following the shoot-out.

Contacted yesterday, a senior policeman said a lack of resources for policemen was the cause of illegal arms and ammunition entering the country.

“These things are coming through the sea coast and officers (police) are not equipped with boats,” he said.

He said a grenade could fetch at least $5,000-$,6000 on the streets, because of the damage it could do.

The senior policeman said, “It is a sad day for the police when criminals do not fear us any more and are more equipped than us.”

He said the police needed to brace themselves for a “copycat mentality,” following the recent incident.

Supt Bastien is continuing investigations.

Meanwhile, the funeral service for PC Marajah takes place today at his home at LP 54 Cooper Road, Seecharan Street, Cane Farm,Tacarigua, at 12 noon.

He will be cremated under full military rites at Caroni cremation site.

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