Female security guard shot and stabbed to death
By Wendy Campbell
Brutal, is how Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Frank Diaz described yesterday's shooting/stabbing death of Telecom contract security guard, Sandra Gomez, who was killed during a robbery attempt in a warehouse on the Lever Brothers, Champs Fleurs, compound.
Gomez, 36, of Concorde Street, San Juan, was the lone guard on duty at the warehouse which police said housed raw materials for powdered soap.
She was a volunteer recruit member with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF), and was due to pass out sometime in November, Army public relations officer, Sgt Leslie Ann Mohammed confirmed.
Gomez, mother of an 11-year-old daughter, Mallory, was one of the volunteer recruits who marched during Saturday's Independence Day parade, and had only come out to work yesterday after several days off, according to Telecom's general manager, Dereck Chin.
"She asked to come out today,” Chin said in an interview. Gomez started work at 9am and was due to finish at 6pm yesterday.
She had been sitting at a desk around 10.40am yesterday when two men, one armed with a firearm entered the warehouse, through two large iron gates that had been left open to accommodate additional stocks.
Other sources said the iron doors had been left open because of the heat.
At the time the two men entered, the female security guard was reading a copy of the Army Regulations Act. The men are believed to have demanded the guard's .38 revolver, which had six rounds of ammunition.
Sometime after, Gomez was stabbed twice in the chest. She is believed to have resisted and was later shot in the head. Her beret had a large hole at the top. The men then took her firearm and ammunition and escaped along Industry Street. Police said another female Telecom security guard heard two explosions, and on checking, found Gomez lying in a pool of blood.
That security officer called her base at Cornelio Street, Woodbrook, and the Emergency Health Services (EHS) was contacted.
Gomez was rushed to the Mount Hope Medical Sciences Complex but was pronounced dead on arrival.
However, a release yesterday from Gillian Quashie, Change Works and Communications Manager (Lever Brothers Caribbean) stated that Gomez died in the operating room. But police said no.
A report was made and a party of officers headed by Diaz, Homicide chief, Snr Supt James Philbert visited the scene and conducted investigations. Police said they found two .380 spent shells and a cellphone on the scene.
An eyewitness employed at Laughlin and DeGannes, which is obliquely opposite the crime scene, said they heard the explosions, but thought it was fireworks. Two men were then seen running away. On checking, they found the security guard gasping for breath.
"She didn't have much of a chance. We are very distraught and upset about it. It is the first time in our 18-year existence that something like this has happened," Chin said of the killing. Chin added that Gomez had been employed with Telecom for the past three years and was a very good and alert officer.
He said he has been speaking with the police and that Police Commissioner Hilton Guy has since called security heads to a meeting tomorrow to see what could be done.
Gomez's sister, Catherine said her sister was a loving person. She said although Gomez had one child, she loved everyone's children.
Catherine said her sister had been working two jobs to make ends meet.
Describing the killing as a "brutal slaying", ACP (Crime) Diaz said he too was concerned about the situation. He said the police need to take a serious look at the posting of security guards.
"Too many guards have had their guns taken away and between Saturday and now, two have been killed," Diaz said. Amalgamated security guard, Anthony Henry was shot and killed last Friday night by men who wanted his gun.
He was on duty at Pizza Boys Restaurant, Highland Plaza Glencoe.
"What was she really guarding to cause her to lose her life? This is a brutal slaying. There was no money transfer taking place. It is a senseless killing," Diaz said.
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