(PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad) – Authorities are on high alert in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, following a shooting incident that left five people dead.
Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, local time, officers responded to “a report of a mass shooting” in Kingstown, the capital of the Caribbean nation, according to a statement from the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.
Police told ABC News a group of people were in the Harbour Club area, when a vehicle pulled up and occupants of the vehicle began shooting.
Five people were fatally shot in the incident, including a 13-year-old boy, investigators said.
“Based on the crime scene, an assault weapon appears to have been used,” Police Commissioner Colin John said at a news conference on Thursday. “We also received intel about possible reprisals and that is something that we are taking very seriously.”
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is abroad on an official visit to Morocco, offered condolences to the families of the victims in a video statement.
“We will get to the bottom of this, and we will bring the perpetrators to justice, those who carried out the killings and those who are the authors,” Dr. Gonsalves said.
The United States has been working with Caribbean countries to battle crime and violence in the region.
On July 5, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Caribbean heads of government in Trinidad. The leaders addressed the issue of guns being trafficked from the U.S. to the Caribbean.
Blinken announced that U.S. prosecutor Michael BenAry has been appointed as the first U.S. coordinator for Caribbean firearms prosecutions.
U.S. Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, who led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Trinidad and Tobago on July 5 for talks with regional leaders, said BenAry’s appointment shows “that the United States of America, that Congress, that the Biden administration, has heard the concerns related to gun trafficking and gun violence here in Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout the Caribbean, and we are prepared to respond decisively to address it.”
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