'Time has run out for St James wrongdoers' - MPs suggest need for extraordinary measures; Commish sends investigators to assist murder probes
Preliminary investigations into a deadly shooting in New Ramble, St James, on Friday night, which resulted in the deaths of three persons and injury to six others, are pointing to lottery scamming activities as the cause, say the police.
Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams, who, yesterday, held a press conference in St James after the latest murders to rock western Jamaica in recent days, sought to assure residents that there would be an elevated police and military presence in the community as well as the wider parish.
In addition, he said investigators would be deployed from Kingston to assist their St James counterparts as they probe the New Ramble incident as well as other murder cases in St James.
"At the end of the day, find them we will because it is no longer the way to go that the police will not catch criminals," he added.
In the meantime, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte and Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, have taken a 'tough-on-crime' stance in response to the latest shooting.
The two members of parliament (MP) for constituencies in the parish, who visited family members of the victims yesterday, told The Sunday Gleaner that time has run out for the criminals.
"These are not ordinary times and so when the State chooses to respond in an extraordinary way, I hope we (will) get all the support of the citizens," said Malahoo Forte, who represents St James West Central.
"I am just sending out a warning to all who have been doing their wrongs and think they have been getting away with it, time has run out. We are gonna take back our community and we are gonna take back our country," she added.
Chang, the MP for St James North Western, called the incident "senseless and brutal" and said the Government was prepared to take whatever steps are required to reinforce the security forces' capabilities to fight crime in the parish.
"It has to stop and we will ensure that the security forces are provided with all the resources to take the necessary measures to re-establish a sense of safety in our communities," he noted.
Those killed in Friday night's shooting are 27-year-old Nicholas Campbell; 16-year-old Adrian Thelwell, otherwise called Noah, both of New Ramble in the parish; and 28-year-old Troy Scoville of Keesing Avenue, Kingston 10.
The incident reportedly took place about 10 p.m. at a shop in the community where residents were hanging out.
It is reported that a silver Toyota Corolla motor car drove up and four armed men alighted from the vehicle, opening fire on the group before escaping.
The situation was tense when The Sunday Gleaner visited the community yesterday morning as residents tried to make sense of what could have triggered this latest shooting in the parish.
One man, who was injured in the incident by a bullet that grazed him at the hip, told The Sunday Gleaner, while requesting anonymity, that the gunmen were dressed in police vests.
"Me see a car drive past, but normally, everybody gather on the road on Friday nights an' a enjoy themselves," he said.
"The car turn and come back down, and four men come out and say 'Police!' When me look me see di man dem in a police vest fi true."
Injured taken to hospital
The man said he only realised that he got shot when he ran home and stripped naked.
He, along with the eight other injured persons, including a woman and a 13-year-old boy, were taken to hospital, where Campbell, Thelwell and Scoville succumbed to their injuries.
"A good youth dem, dem nuh give trouble. One a di youth dem weh get shot did fi go a foreign on Monday. His father came down from foreign and surprised him. Now him dead," the man said.
"Right now me feel scared to tell you the truth. You can see say di community and everybody nuh know wah deh gwaan."
Yesterday, Williams stressed that the investigations would lead police to whoever was involved in the shooting, "whether it is a police officer, a military man, or civilian".
He, however, pointed to the possibility that the police gear allegedly worn by the gunmen might have been fake.
"Many times we seize equipment that look like police uniforms or gear, and they are not," the police commissioner said.
"So people should not be fooled when people come and shout 'police' or have vests that resemble the police's own."