St James closing in on 250 murders - Five people killed in less than 72 hours
With illegal guns still barking and another six murders recorded over the past three days, it now seems a safe bet that St James, which shattered last year's record 212 murders in October, is poised to crack the 250 mark for the first time this year.
After starting this week at 242 murders, the count has now reached 248, with five additional killings in Barrett, Green Pond, and John's Hall over the past 72 hours. Additionally, several persons are now in hospital nursing gunshot wounds.
"Things out of control ... the whole place crazy! Look how me coulda lose me life this morning!" said a woman, who got caught in the middle of a mid-morning gunfight between two rival gangs along the Salt Spring main road. "Look how much bullet hole inna de wall! Me caa believe seh me nuh get shot!"
While the Salt Spring Road woman was lucky, two women from the Barrett Town community were not so lucky on Wednesday evening. One was shot dead and the other left battling for her life in hospital. The dead woman has been identified as 21-year-old Jacqueline Coke.
After shooting the women, the cold-blooded killers reportedly poured a flammable substance on Coke's body and set it ablaze. They also set fire to her house, causing extensive damage.
Following the shooting of the women, the armed thugs went to another house in the community and opened fired on the occupants of a house. A man identified as 43-year-old Manganene Service was killed later in the evening. At approximately 5:30 p.m., another group of thugs went on the rampage in John's Hall, where they attacked a bar and shot dead 32-year-old Dalton Vaughn, a resident of the nearby Spring Mount community.
"Me nuh hear nothing, me nuh see nothing, and me don't know nothing," said a Barnett Town resident, who refused to answer questions from The Gleaner. "Stay far from me, yah sah. He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life."
Following Wednesday's unrest, the carnage continued yesterday with the killing of a man in a cook shop at Capital Heights in Green Pond, as well as the gunfight along the Salt Spring main road, which resulted in one man being shot and injured.
At approximately 11:45 a.m., a man, identified only as Abba, was walking along the main road in Capital Heights when he was attacked by two gunmen. He ran into the cook shop, where he was cornered and killed. The cook shop operator was injured in the incident. He suffered a bullet wound to the head.
In responding to the latest outbreak of lawlessness, Senior Superintendent of Police Marlon Nesbeth, the commanding officer for St James, said the police were putting operational strategies in place to deal with the situation.
"In spite of the fact that some people would have died, we know exactly what is happening. We know who is perpetrating against whom, and we are steadfast in our efforts to address that," Nesbeth told The Gleaner yesterday, while admitting concerns about Flanker, Barrett Town, Retrieve, Cambridge, Farm Heights, and Rose Heights. "We are recovering the weapons. We have been arresting our wanted people, and policing our violence producers. And that is what we need to keep at."