Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Gunmen murder pensioner, schoolboy in Hanover

Published:Friday | July 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Jesse Spence
Laurel Frame
Two elderly residents mourn as the Malcolm Heights community tries to come to terms with Wednesday night’s murders.
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The Malcolm Heights community in Hanover was left traumatised on Wednesday night following a brutal incident in which two gunmen barged into a yard and snuffed out the lives of a 91-year-old-female pensioner and her neighbour, a 15-year-old-schoolboy.

The elderly woman, who was killed on her verandah, is Laurel Frame. She was employed at Rusea's High School for several years before she retired. The dead teen is Jesse Spence, who attended Hopewell High School.

According to residents, many of whom were still weeping when The Gleaner visited the community yesterday morning, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Frame was at her home when young Spence came over to her house on one of his customary visits.

Frame, who was seated on her verandah, and Spence, who was sitting underneath an almond tree in the yard, were surprised by the two gunmen, who barged into the yard. They first opened fire on Spence, killing him on the spot, and then turned their guns on Frame, killing her where she sat.

 

RAN FOR COVER

 

"When wi hear di shot dem and realise wa a gwaan, wi run outta di yard and tek cover," a family member told The Gleaner. "When we run outta de yard, dem (the two gunmen) walk out and left."

When the police arrived at the location, they realised that both the elderly woman and the schoolboy, who both suffered multiple gunshot wounds, were dead.

"Following the shooting, we carried out a number of raids in and around Malcolm Heights, and we have taken two men, who we believe might have been involved, into custody," said Inspector Paul Simms, the crime officer in charge of Hanover. "We are calling on all persons with pertinent information to tell us what they know."

Mary McIntosh, the grandmother of the slain teenager, spoke glowingly of her grandson, who she described as a good boy.

"Jesse was a good-behaving boy," said McIntosh as tears flowed. "He died innocently. He was not mixed up."

Councillor Easton Edwards, who represents the community in the Hanover Municipal Corporation and who was once Frame's co-worker at Rusea's, said that it was hard for him to understand how someone could murder such an elderly person.

"I worked with her for many years at Rusea's High School. I knew her quite well," said Edwards. "You have to wonder what has gone wrong in the minds of our people that could cause someone to shoot a 91-year-old lady. This is just really sad. Really, really sad."

Hanover, which was Jamaica's most peaceful parish for several years, has been a hotbed of violence in recent years. This latest incident brings to 37 persons the number of persons murdered in the parish this year.