Tue | May 30, 2017

Quadruple murder suspect surrenders, but Whithorn residents still traumatised

Published:Wednesday | July 15, 2015 | 7:00 AM

Western Bureau:

Despite the fact that one suspect is now in custody and more than 72 hours have elapsed since Sunday's quadruple murder, the Old Road community in Whithorn, Westmoreland, is still quite tense as fear continues to grip traumatised residents.

"We will not be able to rest in peace until all the murderers are behind bars," a resident told The Gleaner.

"How can you feel comfortable when you don't know if the young man walking down the road towards you is one of the killers?"

Yesterday, Senior Superintendent of Police Paul Ferguson, the commanding officer for Area One (Westmoreland, Trelawny, Hanover, and St James), revealed that one of the three men linked to the killing had surrendered to the police.

"One man has turned himself in to the police and is now being questioned," said Ferguson. "We are urging the other suspects to follow suit and turn themselves in."

mid-afternoon gun attack

According to reports, the man who surrendered narrowly escaped being nabbed prior to turning himself in. He was reportedly spotted in a house packing a travelling bag but managed to escape before the police could corner him.

Those killed in the brazen mid-afternoon gun attack were subsequently identified as 14-year-old Shawn Clayton, a student of Knockalva High School; 20-year-old Romario Drummond; 22-year-old Theodore Tennant; and 16-year-old Demar Doeman, all of the Old Road district area in Whithorn.

The deceased men were reportedly playing video games at a business place in the community when they were pounced upon by three armed men, who sprayed them with bullets, killing them on the spot.

long-standing feud

The incident is believed to have been sparked by a long-standing feud over the proceeds from the illicit lottery scam.

Based on information gleaned from residents, it would appear that two of those killed were the target of the attack while the other two were innocently caught up in the incident.

At a recent Gleaner Editors' forum in Savanna-la-Mar, Dwayne Vaz, member of parliament for Central Westmoreland, bemoaned the fact that the 'get-rich-quick mentality,' which is associated with the lottery scam, had taken root among school-age children in the parish.

"You have some people who do it because of lack of options, but you have a lot of them who do it and they have other options," said Vaz. "You have a lot of high-school students who are brilliant and going through school who are doing it."

In recent months, disputes over the proceeds from the lottery scam have resulted in the shooting death of at least three students in Westmoreland and Hanover.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com