Saturday, December 7, 2019

T&T: Cop Kills Cop, Then Self

Trinidad Guardian:-  The taint­ed love be­tween two po­lice of­fi­cers turned trag­ic in Mt D’Or, Champs Fleurs, yes­ter­day, af­ter SRP Michael Youk­see turned his ser­vice weapon on WPC Rack­el Kipps, the moth­er of his two-year-old daugh­ter, killing her be­fore us­ing the gun to al­so end his own life.

The mur­der/sui­cide, cou­pled with a dou­ble mur­der in Ari­ma, raised the mur­der toll for the year to 459.

Neigh­bours said at around 10.30 am an ar­gu­ment erupt­ed at Youk­see’s Spring Val­ley ex­ten­sion apart­ment.

Po­lice were told it ap­peared that Youk­see had con­front­ed Kipps and chal­lenged her to be truth­ful, stat­ing that he had giv­en her every­thing. Youk­see’s teenage daugh­ter re­port­ed­ly tried to in­ter­vene in the mat­ter but was shoved out of the room.

Less than 20 min­utes lat­er, gun­shots shat­tered the air. Res­i­dents said they heard three in to­tal—two ini­tial­ly and then af­ter a pause, a fi­nal shot. The sound of a ba­by cry­ing then prompt­ed the cou­ple’s rel­a­tives to en­ter the home, where they found the two of­fi­cers in the room bleed­ing. They called po­lice to the scene up­on mak­ing the grim dis­cov­ery.

When of­fi­cers ar­rived Kipps was no longer breath­ing, while Youk­see still had a pulse. Of­fi­cers took him to the near­by Er­ic Williams Med­ical Sci­ence Com­plex, Mt Hope, where he died short­ly af­ter 1 pm.

Dis­trict Med­ical Of­fi­cer Vic­tor Ter­a­pal­li vis­it­ed the scene and pro­nounced Kipps dead.

Kipps was at­tached to the North­ern Di­vi­sion Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent’s of­fice while Youk­see was sta­tioned in Tu­na­puna.

Neigh­bours ex­pressed shock over the in­ci­dent as Youk­see, al­so known to them as Kevin and “Un­cle” to the chil­dren in the com­mu­ni­ty, was said to be ex­treme­ly af­fa­ble and pleas­ant around the neigh­bour­hood.

They added that the vi­o­lence was not some­thing they saw com­ing since Youk­see took good care of his daugh­ters, es­pe­cial­ly the two-year-old daugh­ter, at his home.

Youk­see al­so fea­tured promi­nent­ly on Kipps’ Face­book page, with sev­er­al pic­tures of them to­geth­er as well as their daugh­ter on the time­line.

How­ev­er, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the of­fi­cers, who had plans to get mar­ried next month, re­port­ed­ly turned sour in re­cent weeks. Kipps re­port­ed­ly moved out of the home with the cou­ple’s two-year-old daugh­ter last month. The T&T Guardian was al­so told that a com­plaint had been filed against Youk­see by Kipps re­cent­ly. De­spite this, Kipps yes­ter­day took the child to see her fa­ther, at her daugh­ter’s re­quest, neigh­bours said. It was said that dur­ing the ar­gu­ment the mat­ter of them liv­ing to­geth­er was raised once again.

Con­tact­ed yes­ter­day, Po­lice So­cial and Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, In­spec­tor Michael Seales, sent out con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of both of­fi­cers but said it was too soon to com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion as there were still many facts to be un­cov­ered con­cern­ing the in­ci­dent.

The in­ci­dent once again brought in­to fo­cus the need for sup­port ser­vices for of­fi­cers. In Sep­tem­ber, Seales had point­ed out that the Em­ploy­ee As­sis­tance Pro­gramme was not func­tion­al af­ter the death of of­fi­cer Ian Hamil­ton.

Hamil­ton re­port­ed­ly end­ed his life in Sep­tem­ber, mere hours af­ter per­form­ing at a func­tion. Hamil­ton re­port­ed­ly had been deeply de­pressed fol­low­ing the death of his fi­ancee Natasha Ed­mund in 2017.

Seales had said then that not enough had been put in place to as­sist of­fi­cers who were deal­ing with emo­tion­al trau­ma, not­ing that while there were over 200 trained peer coun­sel­lors with­in the ser­vice, many of­fi­cers were un­aware who they were and as such were un­able to ap­proach them.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the TTPS said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the deaths of WPC Kipps and PC Youk­see.

This was al­so the sec­ond time this year that a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent had led to of­fi­cers us­ing their ser­vice weapons to kill. In ear­ly May, Sgt Dar­ryl Hon­ore died at the hos­pi­tal af­ter a shoot-out with a fel­low of­fi­cer and friend at Grand Bazaar, Val­sayn.

When the shoot­ing oc­curred, the break­down of Hon­ore’s mar­riage was be­lieved to have fac­tored in the in­ci­dent.

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