Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mitchell Anthony Modeste

For the past eight months maxi taxi driver Mitchell Anthony Modeste, 27, had been forced to live the life of a fugitive after he was accused of being in a relationship with a close female relative of a prisoner and several threats were made on his life from behind prison walls.

Grieving relatives told Newsday that the one chance Modeste took to venture outside the family’s Teelucksingh Street East home, cost him his life on Saturday night. Modeste, also called “Baby Lou” and father to seven-year-old Malaki Modeste, was gunned down in cold blood about 100 metres from his home while on his way to a nearby parlour. Relatives who responded to the sound of six gunshots, said they rushed outside only to find Modeste’s bullet-riddled body lying on his back in the middle of the road in a pool of blood. He was already dead. The gunmen had already fled the scene. Modeste had survived two previous attempts on his life, relatives told Newsday. Modeste is believed to be the fifth man to be killed as a result of the allegation that he was involved in a relationship with the relative of a prisoner.

Distraught relatives denied yesterday, that the slain man was ever involved in any relationship with the woman. Relatives said it was only a few weeks ago that Modeste returned to the area as he had been hiding out at the homes of different relatives across the country given the threats on his life. One relative recalled that late last year, gunmen fired several shots at Modeste but missed and that on another occasion, as a gunman pursued him, the magazine fell out of the gun. According to a police report, at about 7 pm on Saturday Modeste was at Teelucksingh Street East, California when he was shot several times by gunmen who opened fire on him, before they escaped in a waiting vehicle. Investigators are working on the theory that the killing was a hit. Weeping sister, Melissa Modeste, 26, said, “Is eight months now he living like a fugitive. He goes nowhere as he was always in fear of his life. Since returning here, the furthest he would reach is by the gate. Relatives said he even cut off his dreadlocks as he tried to assume a different look to stay alive.” Melissa said numerous reports of the threats made on her brother’s life were made to the Couva Police Station. She continued, “They would always ignore him when he reported the matter and they even chased him from the station. 

“He sought help at the San Fernando Police Headquarters where he met with ACP Fitzroy Frederick. He was the only police officer who tried to protect him and he really did his best. He had officers check on him regularly and they would keep a close eye on him. It was only so much he could do,” she said. Modeste’s girlfriend, Vintra Balchand, 23, wept uncontrollably at the news of Modeste’s murder yesterday. She said, “I am devastated because not much was done to help him. I am disappointed in the way police in Couva treated with him. They used to run him out the station when he went to make reports. Baby Lou should have been placed in a safe house since the threats began.” Balchand said her boyfriend’s life had become a living hell following the allegations. “He was such a loving and giving person. He was forced to live this way because of rumours.” When contacted yesterday, ACP Frederick confirmed that he knew of the case and had personally dealt with Modeste. He told Newsday, “I am aware of the case and I was working with the young man. It is very sad what eventually happened.” Officers of the Southern Homicide Unit and Couva Police Station are conducting investigations.

Update: Autopsy confirms man was murdered
Wednesday, February 29 2012
AN AUTOPSY carried out on Monday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James has revealed that California maxi taxi driver Mitchell Anthony Modeste, 27, died as a result of shock and haemorrhage consistent with multiple gunshot wounds.
Modeste also known as “Baby Lou” was shot five times with one of the bullets penetrating his left eye.
He was also shot twice in the lower spine and once on the left ear and shoulder, the report stated.
According to a police report, at about 7 pm last Saturday, Modeste of Teelucksingh Street East, California, who had been hiding out for the past eight months following threats made on his life, was on his way to make a purchase at a nearby parlour when he was shot and killed.

His bullet-riddled body was found lying in the road in a pool of blood.

More is expected on this story.

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