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2005 murder toll ends at 386


TWO slayings 15 minutes before the end of 2005, pushed the murder toll for that year to a record high 386. Homicide records show that for all of 2004, 260 persons were murdered. The 385th murder of 2005 occurred about 11.40 pm on Old Yearís Night when a San Juan family was dancing and eagerly awaiting the new year. Reports revealed that barber Usman Ali, 29, was at home drinking and liming when he left for a short while. When he returned, he saw his mother Mary and two other relatives ó one male and the other female ó all drinking and dancing. Usman reportedly became enraged and accused his mother of favouring the other male relative and armed himself with a piece of iron while the said male relative took up a knife. Police sources said Usman ran towards the man and was stabbed in the chest.

The male relative, Usmanís mother and the female relative locked themselves in a room while they heard a shower in a nearby bathroom being turned on. When the trio checked sometime later, they found Usman slumped in the bathroom. E999 and Homicide Bureau officers arrived on the scene and Usmanís body was removed to the Forensic Science Centre after it was viewed by the District Medical Officer. A 24-year-old man has since been detained. Yesterday, relatives of the dead man said Usman had a history of violent behaviour and said he liked to fight alot. His distraught mother Mary said she will never forget December 31, 2005 and for all the wrong reasons. Investigations are continuing.

At Never Dirty in Morvant, another family was plunged into grief when their relative was shot dead near his home, with just five more minutes left in 2005. Construction worker Dexter Saunders, left his Never Dirty, Morvant home on Saturday night telling relatives that he was going to a lime. He promised to be back before midnight. At about 11.55 pm, while Saunders was walking to his home several shots rang out and he was riddled with bullets. His relatives were unaware of his death and rang in the new year with joy and laughter. That joy turned into sorrow when they were told of the shooting death. Natasha Saunders, sister of the dead man stared at a picture of her brother yesterday and wept uncontrollably. She described her brother as a kind and loving person. Yesterday a bouquet of flowers and a lighted candle were placed on the spot where Saunders was killed. Officers of the Homicide Bureau are investigating.

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