Top-tier gangster killed in St James
A man who the police described as a top-tier member of the notorious Big Yard Gang, which is based in Granville, St James, was shot and killed by unknown assailants who pounced on him in the early hours of yesterday morning in the often volatile community.
The dead man has been identified as 31-year-John Patrick James, who was renowned across the western parish as 'Gaynor Blacks'. He was reportedly much feared by his enemies.
"This is a man who is regularly in and out of hot water with police. I can tell you he was no angel," a senior police officer told The Gleaner yesterday. "He was recently released from prison, where he served a sentence on gun-related charges."
According to residents of Church Lane, where the incident took place, despite his reputation as a trigger-happy gangster, he enjoyed some amount of goodwill with the residents.
"Regardless a wha some people might waa seh bout him, a smaddy pickney, too," a resident said. "A same way dem coulda just walk in and kill any one a we de same way."
According to reports, at approximately midnight, James left his house to buy cigarettes at a nearby house-shop. It is unclear as to where he went after the purchase, but he did not return home. Between the hours of 2 a.m., and 6 a.m., residents said they heard heavy gunfire in the community and called the police.
When the police visited the community, they stumbled upon James' bullet-riddled body lying on the step in proximity to the house-shop where he had purchased the cigarettes earlier. He was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
James is the 56th person to be killed in St James since a state of public emergency was imposed in late January. A total of 64 persons have been murdered since the start of the year.
"We must consider that at this same time last year, St James had already recorded over 199 murders, even though we know that 64 murders are still a lot at this time," said Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell, the Jamaica Constabulary Force commanding officer in charge of the state of public emergency in St James. "We are hoping to reduce these killings as we step up security across the parish."