Negril woman killed in lotto scam-related shooting
West End Road, the hub of tourism in the resort town of Negril, Westmoreland, was rocked by gunfire on Monday night that left one woman dead and three other females injured in an incident believed to be linked to the illicit 'get-rich-quick' lottery scam.
Dead is 18-year-old Ombretta Jackson of the Lime Tree Lane area of the community. The other three women, who have not been identified, are said to be nursing gunshot wounds in hospital.
According to reports, at approximately 8:45 p.m., the women were standing outside a shop in the community when two men alighted from a motorcycle and accosted Jackson. The men reportedly pulled guns and opened fire on her, hitting her multiple times. The other women were reportedly hit during the shooting.
Traumatised residents of the area were reluctant to speak with The Gleaner, but it soon emerged that Jackson was the target of the attack as it is believed she had collected money for a scammer and had failed to turn it over.
"We hear that she collect some money for a man (scammer) and did not turn it over, claiming someone else had collected it," a resident told The Gleaner on condition of anonymity. "Since last year, 'scammers' from Montego Bay and Lucea have being moving into the area and are quietly taking over the town."
In the aftermath of the shooting, the two killers reportedly fled the scene on their motorcycle, leaving Jackson on the ground, dying in a pool of her own blood, and the other three women nursing bullet wounds.
The Negril police reportedly recovered numerous spent shells from the scene. Last night, the police reported that two men had been taken into custody.
A prominent Negril businessman, who asked not to be identified, said the police in the resort area need to become more proactive in tackling the migrating scammers who have been moving into the town and seeking to establish themselves.
"One of the good things we had going for us in this town was the peace and tranquility that attracts tourist," the businessman said. "We can't allow Negril to develop a gun culture because it will destroy our tourism product."
The lottery scam, which had its Jamaican genesis in Montego Bay in 2006, came to the fore when several communities were left awash with cash on account of the extravagant lifestyles of the scammers.
The scam gradually expanded all over western Jamaica as the scammers, reacting to pressure from the police, expanded their illicit activities to other areas.
History was recently created when a Montego Bay man, identified as 28-year-old Damion Barnett, became the first Jamaican to be extradited to the United States for lottery scamming, a scheme used to fleece unsuspecting Americans of millions of dollars.