Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Hellshire ambush

Published:Monday | May 1, 2017 | 5:00 AM
The entrance to the Hellshire Beach in St Catherine where Leighton 'Livity' Coke was shot early yesterday morning.

The security forces were taking no chances yesterday after Leighton Coke, brother of drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, was ambushed and shot several times during an early-morning attack at Hellshire Beach in St Catherine.

Hours after the shooting, police and soldiers took up positions at one of the country's main public hospitals as doctors there treated the man widely known as 'Livity' for gunshot wounds to the right side of his chest and left hand.

A woman who was travelling with him at the time was also shot multiple times and was in serious condition at hospital.

There was also a strong police presence along a section of Spanish Town Road that borders the community of Tivoli Gardens.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake explained that it was standard procedure, after a shooting incident, for the police to conduct an initial assessment and, based on intelligence, deploy personnel, where necessary, to prevent reprisals and other incidents.

Witnesses described the shooting as something from a movie scene. One witness reported that Livity and his female companion had just left a popular restaurant at Hellshire Beach about 2 o'clock yesterday morning when a man travelling on a motorcycle drove up from behind and sprayed his luxury sedan with bullets.

According to the witness, a wounded Livity drove away from the scene, but was pursued by his attacker, who was still firing at the car.

Law-enforcement sources told The Gleaner that he lost consciousness in the Central Village area and had to be assisted to hospital.

Hellshire Beach is a popular spot for seafood, and nervous business owners immediately sought to distance themselves from the shooting incident.

"Hellshire is not a place to come and settle disputes. It is a place for families to come and have fun," one business operator insisted.

Said another business operator: "This was not something under our control and patrons should not use this to stigmatise Hellshire as being unsafe."

In 2012, Livity was freed of firearm-related charges after he was accused of firing at the security forces during the May 2010 police-military operations in west Kingston to apprehend his brother, Dudus.

Christopher Coke, who was held one month after the operations and extradited to the United States to face drug and firearms charges, is now serving a 23-year prison sentence in a US federal prison.