Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Painful tragedy! - Community and relatives grief-stricken by killing of cop’s mother

Published:Saturday | February 8, 2020 | 12:17 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Miss Nancy’s shop on Angel Drive in Old Harbour Glades where she was killed by gunmen.
Miss Nancy’s shop on Angel Drive in Old Harbour Glades where she was killed by gunmen.

Family members of Laetitia Francis, the elderly woman who was gunned down inside her shop in Old Harbour Glades, St Catherine, on Thursday morning, are struggling to accept the brutal and painful loss of a dear matriarch.

Late yesterday, the St Catherine South Police reported that one of the suspects in the killing of Francis was now in police custody.

The man, whose name is being withheld, turned himself in to the Old Harbour Police yesterday. He is to be interviewed in the presence of his attorney.

The Gleaner visited the community yesterday where grief was etched on the faces of neighbours and a child of the deceased woman affectionately called ‘Miss Nancy’. They expressed sadness at the horrific nature in which she was killed.

The popular community shop remained closed yesterday and uncertainty surrounds if or when it will be reopened.

Francis, 67, was reportedly ambushed by three armed men who entered her shop and shot her in the neck, abdomen and leg before making their escape.

She died at hospital while undergoing emergency surgery.

One of Francis’ son told The Gleaner, “If somebody kill my mother, they will try to kill someone, anybody else. But I am not afraid.”

The Gleaner understands that Francis spent most of her earlier days as a security personnel before she started her own business, operating a shop from her home.

Another family member told The Gleaner that Francis will always be remembered as a jovial person.

“She was very jovial and always giving jokes. The last time I heard from her was when she called me on Wednesday and asked me to sell in the shop for her,” The Gleaner was told.

The neighbour told The Gleaner, “I am scared. I saw her about 11 yesterday morning (Thursday) and then shortly after we heard the news … . As near as I am, I did not hear the gunshots. She is a good woman and she never deserved that death.”

Another neighbour said, “Over 30 years I know her, right now we lose a nice lady in the community. My niece did not go to school today because she and the other children who knew her are saddened.”

‘ATTACK ON ALL OF US’

Reports are that Francis’ death may have been a reprisal for an incident a week ago involving her son, who is a cop.

Francis, who had eight children, died leaving seven.

The Gleaner was told that there has been overwhelming support from the police force.

A relative said, “The support from the force and civilians has been good.”

Police Federation Chairman Sergeant Patrae Rowe has called for all rank-and-file members to strongly condemn the killing of the policeman’s mother.

He told our news team, “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us (and) an attack on any one of our family members is an attack on us.”

The federation said this incident follows a fatal shooting by Francis’ crime fighter son.

“We are outraged by the callousness of these miscreants who took her life in retaliation,” the federation said.

andre.williams@glenerjm.com