Sat | Aug 19, 2017

More murders rocking the west - Hanover, St James, and Westmoreland record five murders in 72 hrs

Published:Wednesday | June 8, 2016 | 6:00 AMAdrian Frater

Western Bureau:

While the Police High Command is reporting a decrease in serious crime nationally, it would appear that western Jamaica is not part of the equation as Westmoreland, St James, and Hanover have all reported murders over the past 72 hours, highlighting the level of lawlessness plaguing the region.

On Sunday night, the Smithfield community in Westmoreland was rocked by gunfire as armed thugs shot and killed a security guard who was on duty at a gas station in the community.

The circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear as the police are said to be still investigating.

Shortly after midnight, there was more bloodletting in the parish as a man identified as 43-year-old Kevin 'Blacka Dappa' Richards, who residents say was a 'top man' (gangster) in the Westmoreland parish capital, was attacked on Beckford Street and murdered by a gang of knife-wielding thugs.

"We are not authorised to give out any information to the media on any incidents here in this parish ... . You will have to get that information from CCU (Corporate Communications Unit)," an officer at the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station told The Gleaner.

When the CCU was contacted, a representative confirmed that Richards had been attacked and stabbed to death by unknown assailants.

Over in neighbouring Hanover, which has become a hotbed of gun violence in recent months, there was yet another double murder on Monday night.

The incident had an extra ugly twist as the victims were reportedly trying to be the proverbial Good Samaritans when they were attacked and shot by marauding thugs.

Those killed in the incident, which occurred along the Prospect main road, have been identified as 33-year-old Rohan Atkinson and his common-law wife, 27-year-old Kimberley Brown.

Another person, who was travelling in a separate vehicle, was also shot and injured.

According to reports, the couple was travelling along the Prospect main road when they stopped after they noticed that another vehicle had seemingly run off the road. As they alighted from their vehicle, men travelling on motor bikes behind opened fire on them, hitting them multiple times.

Another motorist, who had stopped, was shot and injured by the gunmen.

In Montego Bay, which has had a string of murders in recent weeks primarily as a result of a gang feud in the volatile Rose Heights community, there was yet another killing along Love Lane in downtown Montego Bay.

Shortly after midday, heavy gunfire was heard in Love Lane.

When the shooting subsided, a man know only as 'Zeeks', who is said to be from the problem-plagued Canterbury, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force Periodic Serious and Violent Crimes Review reported a two per cent decrease in murders, stating that there had been 492 murders so far in 2016 compared to 502 over the comparative period last year.

However, in St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, the three parishes have seen increases in their murder figures.

Before the incidents over the last 72 hours, St James had 103 compared to last year's 81; Westmoreland had 39 compared to last year's 38; while Hanover had 13 compared to last year's 14.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com