The bullets that killed Sgt Darryl Honore were not the standard ammunition used by licensed firearm holders in T&T. Rather, they were the deadly hollow point bullets which are proven to be more deadly to their target.
The hollow point bullet is an expanding bullet that has a pit or hollowed shape in its tip that causes the bullet to expand upon entering the target as it penetrates. It is said to cause more tissue damage.
In an autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre on Tuesday, it was discovered that Honore was hit twice in the abdomen by hollow point bullets. The report found that the bullets “ripped” apart Honore’s internal organs, causing massive internal injuries.
According to investigating officers, among the 28 shells recovered from the scene last Wednesday at Grand Bazaar, where Honore engaged in a shootout with one of his colleagues, were several hollow point shells as well as the standard 9 mm ammunition.
A police source explained yesterday that the hollow point is the choice by servicemen for their private handguns, rather than the standard or full metal jacket bullets because it causes maximum damage and can be fatal. Full metal jacket bullets are widely used for self-defence purposes, as they cause little injury and minimise fatalities, the officers added.
“What would need to be incorporated in the investigations is why the choice of bullets, noting that hollow point is not illegal in this country but has been banned in other countries,” the police source said.
The T&T Guardian was told that firearm licenses are granted for .38 revolvers and 9 mm pistols and do not allow for more powerful weapons. The permit also allows for 25 rounds of ammunition. However, a lot of firearm users tend not to use the standard 9 mm ammunition and resort to more expensive ammunition such as the hollow point, wide cutters and the Rhino.
These types of bullets can range from $12 to $25 a round.
Contacted yesterday for comment, Honore’s father, attorney Joseph Honore, confirmed he was told hollow point bullets killed his son because they caused massive internal damage.
“I believe if the standard bullet was the kind that penetrated my son his chance for survival would have been greater. It was not one bullet but two,” Honore said.
Asked if any of the investigators had contacted him yet, Honore said: “No…and I am very concerned as to why none of them saw it fit to speak to me on how they are treating with this.”
A colleague of the other police officer involved in the incident yesterday told the T&T Guardian he was not in good spirits and is said to be “very regretful of the entire situation.”
“Both of them were good friends and it is sad to see this situation escalated like that. But what I can say is that there are many regrets and many apologies from the heart,” the officer said.
Honore’s military funeral takes place tomorrow at the St Phillip’s RC Church in Chaguanas.