Former Pro League stand-out Akeem ‘Battery’ Benjamin was one of two men shot dead today during an alleged confrontation with police officers at the out-of-commission Flavourite Ice Cream compound at Boundary Road in San Juan.
The second deceased man remains unidentified while a TTPS release said North Eastern Division Task Force officers have taken a third suspect into custody.
Officers, who were responding to a report of ‘robbery in progress’, claimed to have recovered two firearms at the scene.
Benjamin, 32, was an elegant central defender who was just a teenager when he won his first Pro League football title with W Connection FC under renowned St Lucian coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
He then moved to Couva rivals, Central FC, where he won back-to-back domestic and regional trophies playing for coaches Terry Fenwick, Zoran Vranes and Dale Saunders.
Benjamin shared a dressing room with Trinidad and Tobago World Youth Cup players Leston Paul and Sean De Silva and Soca Warriors captain Jan-Michael Williams.
In an interview with the Burdie and Barney podcast last year, Williams called Benjamin the most gifted local defender hehas ever played with.
Frustrated by rifts between Central director Brent Sancho and his players over salaries and bonuses, Benjamin left the ‘Couva Sharks’ for San Juan Jabloteh in 2016 before eventually fading out of the top-flight game entirely—well before his 30th birthday.
Today, he met his end in a hail of bullets from law enforcement officers.
What a sad story about a young man moving from football stardom to death by police bullets!
Sports must become the weapon of choice for our youth was my mantra as Chair of the cancelled Caribbean Games 2009 (CG09). It is still relevant today but we need the vision, structure and systems to attract and guide our talented youth.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” — Proverbs 29:18 #wemustdobetter #sportsistheweaponofchoice