Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Dad stunned after 19-y-o killed

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2020 | 12:41 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Keith Austin is a picture of grief moments after discovering that his son, Chavane, was killed on Francis Lane in the Maxfield Park community of St Andrew on Monday, July 13.
Keith Austin is a picture of grief moments after discovering that his son, Chavane, was killed on Francis Lane in the Maxfield Park community of St Andrew on Monday, July 13.

Keith Austin was returning home Monday afternoon after a failed quest to obtain work having earlier been overtaken by “bad feeling” – Jamaican vernacular for ominous unease.

Austin had barely alighted from the bicycle he had ridden to Waltham Park before residents broke the heartbreaking news that his 19-year-old son, Chavane Austin, had been murdered.

Chavane was killed about 12:30 p.m. on Francis Lane in Kingston 13.

Austin was disconsolate after not landing a job, and, fighting hunger, the father of five was making his way home to prepare a meal.

It was the third child he was losing under tragic circumstances.

Austin sought answers from a greater power on why his family continued to be victims.

“One sick and dead with fits, dem burn up one inna fire, and now dem come kill one more again … . Mi want know a why me and my family dem, you nuh.

“Mi grow mi youth dem good. Mi grow dem good as a poor father. Mi nuh grow dem fi come tun nuh criminal,” he told The Gleaner.

Residents accused the police of the killing but the authorities have denied any involvement.

Tensions simmered Monday afternoon as residents mounted roadblocks. A senior cop who visited the scene told The Gleaner that the police had only assisted the injured man to hospital.

“The police were on operation and saw him and leave him. We picked up other men and left. We got a call of shots being fired and returned and rendered assistance,” the policeman said in full view of the residents.

Brought home ackees

Chavane’s mother, Lelith Walters, was also at the scene and sought answers on why her son was killed. She said that Chavane had earlier brought home ackees with the intention of selling them.

Residents, who recounted that the police had earlier told Chavane to leave a spot where he was catching water, said that he was not “troublesome” or a “war boat”.

The killing occurred near the westernmost margins of the Kingston Western Police Division, where a state of emergency was imposed a month ago. Data obtained by The Gleaner reveal that Kingston Western is the fourth bloodiest police division in Jamaica, in raw numbers, with 55 killings up to July 12. That represents a 53 per cent increase year-on-year.

Only St Andrew South (82), St Catherine North (64) and St James (64) have had more murders in 2020.

Up to press time, commander for the division, Superintendent Leighton Gray, could not be reached, as calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com