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JUTC driver's murder captured on video - Colleagues withdraw service to August Town over safety concerns

Published:Thursday | December 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Yesterday, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate Communications Unit appealed to persons who witnessed the incident to come forward and assist police investigators.

FIFTY-ONE-year-old Albert Barnes did not stand a chance.

A video recording captured by the internal camera system on board the No. 72 Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus he was operating has reportedly shown that the married father of two children was shot in the chest 13 seconds after two hoodlums boarded the bus in August Town, St Andrew, on Tuesday night.

Colin Campbell, managing director of the JUTC, acknowledged yesterday that he has seen the video and described how one of the thugs brandished a gun and placed it at Barnes' neck.

"We don't know what was said because it's not a system that records sound. Then we saw the shooter back off and fired one single shot and got off the bus," Campbell told The Gleaner yesterday.

"What the video actually shows is that between the time the guys boarded the bus and shot him and come off the bus was actually 13 seconds," he added.

The JUTC boss confirmed that no money was taken, but theorised that it could have been a robbery attempt.

Barnes succumbed to his injuries a short time later at the University Hospital of the West Indies.

Despite support from residents, who have reportedly denounced the killing, Campbell signalled that the killing could leave sections of the St Andrew community without regular bus service "for the time being".

He said the slain driver's shaken colleagues were hesitant to carry out their duties yesterday, and they later sought approval to turn around their buses at the intersection of August Town Road and University Crescent out of concerns for their safety. Campbell indicated that he gave them the green light on the condition that they inform passengers in advance.

"What I said to them is do what you are comfortable with for the time being, until I am assured of the security support, which is what we got when we met with the St Andrew Central and the Area Four Police," he revealed.

"It is punishing the community when we can't provide the normal service and from all indication, the community is in full support of the JUTC, but the buses are operated by humans who have feelings," Campbell underscored.

 

AFFECTED ROUTES

The JUTC boss revealed that the affected routes include Nos. 72, 77 and 78, but said he has since received assurances from the police that they will increase mobile and foot patrols in the August Town area.

"I am confident that we will have adequate protection on the affected routes," he insisted.

Yesterday, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate Communications Unit appealed to persons who witnessed the incident to come forward and assist police investigators. It urged persons with information to contact the Half-Way Tree Police at 926-8184, police emergency number 119, or the nearest police station.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com