Bloodbath - Four gunned down at cookshop in Bath, Westmoreland
Residents of Bath in Westmoreland are struggling to come to grips with Saturday night's quadruple murder when members of their community were slaughtered at a popular cookshop and bar by men travelling on two motorcycles.
When the shooting, which started approximately 9 p.m., ended, 23-year-old Timothy Bernard, otherwise called 'Tim'; 19-year-old Demario McIntosh; 68-year-old Glendon Nannan; and 54-year-old Carl Banhan, otherwise called 'Calla', were killed on the spot.
"Daddy took my little baby girl as him leaving and she did not want to come back to me," said Carl Banhan's daughter, Sherika, as tears streamed down her face. "It is as if she knew it was the last time she would see him alive. He had to force her to come back to me and tell her that him soon come.
"All now I cannot believe it. Daddy dead. [I] can never believe say Daddy dead," she said repeatedly.
About 100 metres from the Banhans' house, residents took turns consoling Timothy Bernard's father, 'Power', who was at his gate crying uncontrollably, but refusing to talk.
"This is how he is since it happen. Timothy was everything to him," Marsha Mairs, a resident, told The Gleaner.
"Dem kill a good youth, a real good youth. Tim don't sit down. He is either cutting cane or on a construction site, but he is always ready to work, always jovial, the life of the community," Mairs added.
According to one senior resident, a shooting incident involving men on motorcycles took place on the outskirts of the village recently, but many saw it as an isolated incident.
"We still cannot understand why this would happen. This is not a problem community, especially on weekends. We all gather at the cookshop, play dominoes and enjoy ourselves. No conflict, just love and peace," he said.
Acting commander of Area One, Senior Superintendent of Police Dermont Lawrence, said police investigators are following some early leads.
"The quadruple killing did not happen in one of our areas of concern, but we will continue to remain visible. While it's early days, we are following several leads," he said.
"We just want to assure the residents that we intend to find these killers," Lawrence assured.
Four men were also killed in three separate incidents in the parish of St James on the weekend, including a double murder in Barrett Town, where unemployed 40-year-old Donovan Ricketts and an unidentified male were shot by unknown assailants.
According to the Area One commander, the residents can play a huge part in stopping the wanton bloodshed.
"We have increased our presence in these areas and we are employing several strategies that we cannot make public at this time," Lawrence said, adding that "we are fully aware of the warring factions in these communities and we are appealing to residents to come and tell us what they know."