Man disarmed of rifle and murdered in Flankers
After six months of peace, the community of Flankers in St James erupted into violence on Monday evening when a drunken man, who brandished a rifle at a group of men, was shot and killed and the weapon taken away from him.
The dead man has been identified as 40-year-old caretaker Courtney Clarke. He was reportedly employed to oversee a property on Corbett Drive, popularly known as Rifle Lane, in the volatile Flankers community, which was a hotbed of violence prior to the declaration of a state of public emergency in the parish.
The incident, which occurred at about 6:30 p.m., has left the Reverend Everton Jackson, chairman of the Peace Management Initiative (west), deeply saddened. According to him, Flankers was one of the communities that had benefited significantly from the imposition of the enhanced security measures.
"I think that everybody that has been following the situation in regards to crime and violence in western Jamaica would agree that, since the introduction of the state of emergency, we have experienced a tremendous decline in homicides," said Jackson.
"It is regrettable that at this time we should hear of a murder in Flankers, which is one of the communities that would have benefited from the positive impacts of the state of emergency."
Like Jackson, several residents of the community yesterday expressed disappointment that the peace had been broken, and were even more worried in light of the rumour that there will be more violence unless the rifle that was taken from Clarke is returned.
"We have had over six months of peace and quiet in Flankers, and now this man come carry off his foolishness," a resident told The Gleaner. "De man know seh him drunk, but him gaa pick up AK-47 rifle and come a threaten de youth dem. Him don't even come from yah."
According to a police report, Clarke got into an argument with a group of men and left the scene in a rage. He returned brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle. However, before he could use the weapon, he was shot and killed by one of the men. The weapon was reportedly taken by his killer.