Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Flankers under 96-hour lockdown - Security forces targeting gangsters and guns

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:25 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

The St James community of Flankers, which has recorded two murders recently, is now under a 96-hour lockdown as the military and the police are now conducting house-to-house searches for illegal guns and gangsters.

The operation commenced on Monday.

The community, which has been wracked by simmering tension between rival factions, exploded into violence on Sunday when gunmen killed a nine-year-old boy and injured the daughter of dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta.

In what was believed to be a reprisal on Monday, gunmen stormed the community, shooting and killing a man who, to date, has only been identified as ‘Eggie’.

In the first of the two shooting incidents, which was reportedly sparked by a quarrel shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday, men exited a car and fired on residents who had converged near a shop. Five persons, including Lance-Jay Sterling and Tommy Lee Sparta’s six-year-old daughter, were hit. Sterling subsequently died from the injuries he sustained.

Following the shooting, the police released a statement calling for Martino ‘Tino’ Kellier and a man known as ‘Bobo’, both of the Lime Tree section, who they believe have information on the shooting, to turn themselves in.

“We have decided to throw everything behind this effort to put an end to the mayhem,” said Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the commanding officer for the St James police.

In the reprisal on Monday, heavily armed gangsters reportedly fired a barrage of shots in Lime Tree. ‘Eggie’ was killed.

Flankers has been a hotbed of gun violence spanning several years. The community’s body count has topped 20 since last year. Several alleged gangsters from the community, including a 15-year-old boy, are now in police custody facing multiple murder charges.

Tommy Lee Sparta, whose given name is Leroy Russell, had been detained under the ongoing state of emergency in the western parish. However, he was released without charge.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com