Photo Credit: Diocese of Trinidad & Tobago / Google Maps
A priest in the Diocese of Trinidad & Tobago, Gerald Hendrickson, is in a serious condition in hospital after being shot as he left a cafe. CCTV footage shows the gunman running after another man, shooting at him as he ran into a store. He continued firing indiscriminately, hitting the priest twice in the stomach as he left the Big George foodstore as the shooting took place. Reports say that police found 15 rounds of ammunition at the scene – one of them was still live.
Police responded quickly and a suspect was detained a short distance from the shooting. They say that Hendrickson, a 54-year-old priest based at St Margaret’s Church in Belmont, Port of Spain, was “an innocent victim just going about his daily affairs” when he was shot at 2 pm AST (6 pm GMT) on Tuesday.
The Bishop of Trinidad & Tobago, Claude Berkley, responded to the incident with a call for “a concerted effort to get illegal firearms off the streets” and a community programme to reduce criminal violence.
“One of the issues that we have to deal with is tackling the feeling that people can get away with the commission of crimes or that they will not be caught”, the Bishop told the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper. “That kind of urge and feeling has led to a sense of brazenness and disre-spect for law and order and seeking to promote some chaos on our streets and in our communi-ties.
“There is a need for some drastic action to help push back this kind of wanton and runaway situation where people feel they can act if they are angry . . . they can just respond to their anger and be without that self-control and self-discipline to hurt and even kill other people who are not even involved in their own conflict.”
Commenting on Gerald Hendrickson’s condition, Bishop Claude said: “he is in pain and somewhat restricted given the aftermath of the surgery that he undertook. However, we are praying for him and a speedy recovery.”