Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Albert Town High in grief

Published:Wednesday | April 5, 2017 | 4:00 AMAdrian Frater
Teneisha Smith, distraught mother of Oraine Johnson.
Oraine Johnson
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Western Bureau:

Albert Town High School in Trelawny was a place of much grief yesterday as teachers and students reacted to the awful death of 14-year-old student, Oraine Johnson, who was chopped to death by an 11-year-old boy in the nearby Lowe River community on Monday afternoon.

"We are really touched and in grief at this time," Dwayne Edwards, the school's principal, told The Gleaner yesterday. "Oraine was a quiet student, not a boy we would expect to be involved in an altercation, so we are surprised by the way he met his demise."

According to reports, shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday, Oraine and his 11-year-old friend had a verbal altercation and the younger child went away and returned with a machete, which he used to inflict several chop wounds on Johnson. One of the chops all but severed his head.

Following the attack, the boy fled the scene and hid in bushes in the community. However, he was subsequently found by relatives who turned him over to the Wait-A-Bit police.

"He is now in custody and will be interviewed by investigators," said Deputy Superintendent Carlos Russell, who is acting as the commanding officer for Trelawny in the absence of Superintendent Clive Blair, who is on vacation. "... He is really very young, so we have to take that into consideration as well."

Oraine's death dominated conversation among his classmates yesterday. Many cried as the realisation sunk in that he will never again share classroom space with them. However, measures were put in place to help them manage the tragedy.

"We have had guidance counsellors from other schools coming in and speaking to the children, especially those in Oraine's class," said Edwards. "We are also in contact with the Ministry of Education and we are expecting a visit from ministry officials."

In the Lowe River community, the home district of the two boys, there was a mixture of anger and trepidation yesterday as residents blamed a variety of things for the tragedy, including the devil, and perilous times.

"The devil is roaming the land and is capturing the heart of the children, causing them to become wicked and bloodthirsty," said an elderly relative of the deceased boy. "As a nation, we need to turn to God quickly or we will be seeing more and more of these wicked acts."

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com