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Shop keeper robbed, slain

Published: 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Torrance Bedassie closes the front gate to his mother’s mini mart following the gruesome discovery of her body yesterday.

Police shot and killed a man hours after he was believed to have killed business owner Hanipha "Lucky" Bedassie at her mini mart at the corner of Huggins Street and the Chaguanas Main Road yesterday.

Bedassie, 55, owner of Lucky's Mini Mart, was found by her youngest son Torrence Bedassie, who had to jump the shop's back wall to gain entry. The woman was found lying in the back bedroom with her hands and feet bound and pieces of lace clothing in her mouth.

The suspect was identified as a Leon Johnson, of Felicity, the son of a woman who once rented an apartment two houses away.

Residents called Bedassie's sons after she failed to respond to their calls at the front of the shop.

Johnson was seen jumping over the back wall into the yard of a church and the pastor immediately notified the police.

The Chaguanas police responded to the information received and spotted Johnson running a short distance away at Connector Road.

Officers said they approached him and there was an exchange of gunfire and he was injured.

Johnson, still wearing the same clothing neighbours saw him in earlier, was taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility but died en route. A firearm and items from the mini-mart were discovered in a bag and taken to the Chaguanas CID.

In an interview outside his mother's mart yesterday, Torrence said he rushed to the scene after neighbours said something was not right. He said Johnson was known to their family years ago.

"He used to live here before and grow up with us and rent the place," he said, pointing to the house nearby.

Torrence said his mother was concerned about crime in the community and gave him updates on activity in the area.

"The bar was robbed five times before and she's never been robbed. She always looking out and say it have strange cars and things going on," he said.

Bedassie's brother, Hosein Ali, said he did not know how he would break the news to their 94-year-old mother.

"It is to tell my mother, I don't know how to tell she," Ali said.

Deena-Lee Siew, Bedassie's former daughter-in-law, described her death as "heartless."

"It don't have the words to describe what happened. She opened the shop from early as 7 (am). You can get something to trust or free. It is heartless."

Residents were surprised to hear of Bedassie's death and described her as a "very nice lady."