The following incident occurred during the early hours of Sunday 1st October 2017.
I was leaving a party at Studio around 3:30AM with the friend who had spontaneously invited me. Usually, after party nights we would have walked to Port of Spain. Why walk you ask? It helps work off the alcohol, and if you can get to your destination in the same amount of time that you would have spent waiting for transport, why tha hell not?. This time however my friend said he was tired, and wanted to travel. No scene. I was tired AF myself. Between the 8:30AM performance of KHONA the Musical on Friday 29th September (review coming soon), retuning home at 4AM on Saturday morning, waking at 6AM for two dance rehearsals (AIDA and Law and Order) in San’do, a show I was working on at the Central Bank Auditorium on Saturday evening, and the party we were leaving as the cherry on top… I only got 1 hour sleep. (Something to keep in mind as this story progresses). So if he say travel is what we’re doing, travel it is then.
As we were waiting, I kept sticking my hand out indiscriminately at passing cars, gesturing ‘Port of Spain?’ “You have to wait till they flash their lights” my friend said, then, almost like clockwork… what do you know…a car… a white ‘old model’ wagon, (I don’t know makes of cars) flashed its lights and slowed down to pick us up. Heavens be praised.
The front seat was empty, and there was one passenger sleeping in the back seat directly behind the driver. Generally I would have taken front seat… I kinda like my own space, and I kinda like to ensure that I can take control of a situation should it decide to go awry. One can never know when you will have to pull a steering wheel, or have to jump from a moving vehicle again… there are less things to have to think about in emergency situations when you’re in the front seat IMO. In spite of all of that, I decided to join my friend in the back seat. Once in the car, I began to unwind as I am expecting to be taken to my destination without incident. It’s not unreasonable right? Since I was tired af, and having consumed a considerable amount of alcohol (two Smirnoff… leave me alone, I know I’m a light weight) I allowed myself to doze off lil bit.
I was only half asleep when the driver asked “Allyuh going uptown or down town Port of Spain?”. I lazily opened my eyes, noticed we were around Victoria Square, and responded “Downtown drive”…. then… *Cluh Clink*… I heard the sound of a pistol being cocked. How did I know it was the sound of a pistol?…movies and video games perhaps… what I did know was that shit just got real… and immediately woke and sobered the fuck up.
My survival mode (which I have fondly named Batman) was activated, and the events which unraveled thereafter appeared to occur in slow motion.
I immediately became aware that the street we were on was dimly lit… if one can consider it lit at all. The ‘sleeping’ passenger was now shouting something that I could not make out over the driver’s cries of “WHAT REALLY GOING ON IN MY CAR BOY?! BUH WA REALLY GOING ON IN MY CAR BOY?”. It was then I noticed that my friend, who was seated in the middle, was being held in a choke hold. With the next passenger door to my left, I could open my door and dive out. It’s not like I haven’t done it before. But that would be a d!ck move, and an option I did not consider. I am here with someone, so whatever happens, we are BOTH going to survive… or at the very least, he will.
The driver continued to drive, looking back repeatedly asking the same question. ‘What really going on in my car boy?” At some point, light briefly came into the vehicle… probably from a building we passed, I don’t really know, but with that passing of light, my eyes spotted the gun. It was being held by the passenger to the right (duh), and the barrel was pressed into my friend’s side.
Without a second thought, I leaped for the firearm. I grabbed the assailant’s wrist with my right hand, the barrel of the gun with my left, and pulled the weapon away from my friend’s side. My objectives from here were three fold. Any two of which NEEDED to be achieved to turn this situation into my favor.
- Keep the gun pointed downward
- Fire the rounds into the floor of the car and empty the clip
- Get the gun away from the assailant
A scuffle would ensure
At some point the driver stopped the car and screamed “Ah want everybody outa meh car! Allyuh come out meh car now!”. To which I would respond, “Drive(r) there is a man here with a gun! I am holding on to him. Drive to a police station, we will come out there.”
The driver would stop again and demand that we all vacate his car. I would respond more assertively, “Drive(r), this street is too dark! We are not coming out here. I am holding on to the man. We will come out at a police station and there are enough around Port of Spain… FIND ONE!”
The scuffle continued. As far as I wanted to achieve two of the objectives listed above, I was only able to achieve #1. In hindsight, I was pulling the gun directly forward; the direction of most resistance (I know better for next time), and was unable to locate the trigger in our scuffle. There was almost nothing more I could do… until Plan B; get the assailant away from the car, came to mind. Still holding on to the barrel with my left hand, and keeping it pointed downward, I released his wrist, unlocked and opened his door, gabbed him by the shirt collar with my right hand and attempted to throw him out the moving vehicle.
It would not be as easy as I imagined. While half of his body (head and torso) was successfully pushed out, the assailant’s feet locked under the driver’s seat to keep himself from tumbling out completely. It would take me shifting all my body weight to be directly over him; attempting to press his face (a face of someone quite possibly in his mid-thirties, bald, light brown skin, of African descent and full beard) closer and closer to the asphalt that was whizzing hastily by below us, to eventually overpower him and push him out the vehicle. I would have tumbled out myself if it wasn’t for my foot being stuck between the driver’s seat and the lil hump thing in the center of the two front seats.
Then… the car stopped (umm.. why?) . The door through which the assailant was pushed out was still wide open. It was only when he got to his feet that I realised he was still in possession of the firearm and was now pointing it inside…. FUCK!
Did I mention that my friend was still sitting in the center? In his position he would have been the first point of contact with the guy outside and I refused to let him die, or even get hurt because my actions may have escalated the situation. I instinctively crawled over him, and as I looked up… for the first time in my life I literally came face to face with a gun. Staring directly down the barrel, I was looking death square in the mouth.
My mind raced to analyse the new situation. The assailant, now that he was outside, had free reign to go anywhere he wanted to go. Meanwhile we were trapped like rats. I put my hands up, partially as an attempt to deescalate the situation, and partially to avail my hands for quick action (what ever it may be) should the opportunity present itself. My mind continued to race, searching for a path to absolution that would never come. I saw no way out of the situation this time. At that moment I was mentally preparing myself to get shot in the chest.
I sat there… bracing for the sound of a shot being fired, for the excruciation of a bullet piercing my chest, and imagining my lungs filling with blood as I die a slow and agonizing death. ‘Today is the day I die.’ I thought, ‘and it was a life well lived. Theatre filled to the very end. Just try not to go out like a bitch… and make sure that your last words are epic and quotable’. I couldn’t help but be amused as I realised how ludacris my thought process was in that dire situation. OK Triston. Be serious. This ain’t a movie! Then I wondered… how do I have the time to think about all of this? Why haven’t I been shot yet?
Two thoughts then came to mind. Either the gun isn’t loaded, or this driver is in on this shit. You see, I have always had this philosophy that if you’re gonna shoot someone you’re probably not going to do it in your own car… cause then you’ll have to have to have it cleaned, and have the awkward conversation of why there is blood and possibly bullet holes in your seat. Then there was the added fact that the driver… even at this point, when the threat is already removed from his vehicle, is STILL shouting “All ah allyuh come out meh car NOW”.
“Ok, OK! We’re coming out” I said, and made sure to grab my bag which was laying on the car floor.
As we exited, (I’m not sure who got out first between my friend and I) the assailant ran around the back of the vehicle… either as a result of our exit, or independently. I am still unsure. I allowed my friend to run ahead, still making sure that I am between him and the gun man. As I ran, I never took my eye off the assailant. In my head I imagined that he would run after us… at least for a bit, or fire some shots. Instead, I watched him re enter the vehicle from which he was thrown via the left passenger door, and close both doors, before the car drove off.
THIS BITCH ASS DRIVER WAS IN THIS FROM JUMP! :/… which means they can come back from anywhere. RUN!
I instructed my friend to run straight to Wrightson Road which was perpendicular to where we were (which I would later learn is called Sackville Street) as it was the only street with light and with counter traffic. After that… remembering that I only had 1 hour sleep, this new energy that I found was clearly the action of adrenaline. After reaching Wrightson Road, I suggested the HYATT as our next destination. We needed to be somewhere secure before my adrenaline runs out and I pass out. We reached… I called mums, gave her the cliffnotes version and somewhere along the line I fell asleep because the next ting I knew I was waking up at twilight on the ledge at HYATT’s Water Front.
With the exception of a few scratches… both my friend and I escaped without injury or loss of posession. #LikeABoss 😎