Cops killed in alleged murder/suicide identified, police commissioner expresses condolence
The names of the two policemen who died while at a party in White River, St Ann this morning have been released.
They are 30-year-old Andewale Smith from Mandeville, Manchester; and Kemo Walsh, 20, from Highgate, St Mary. Smith was a special squad stationed in St Ann’s Bay, while Walsh was attached to the Ocho Rios station.
Walsh was shot by Smith, who later killed himself, as Walsh was being rushed to hospital around 3:30 this morning.
The Gleaner-Power 106 correspondent reports that the close friends were at a birthday party at an entertainment venue in White River, Ocho Rios when the incident happened. Other police officers were also present at the event.
A patron who attended the party said the incident appeared to be accidental. According to the witness, the cops were playing with an object "they should not have been playing with" when Walsh was shot. He was placed in a police pick-up truck and rushed to hospital.
Smith shot himself while travelling with Walsh and the other officers in the pick up truck when he realised that his colleague had died.
Smith was to celebrate his birthday today.
The news of the death of the constables left several police personnel in St Ann grieving today.
Acting head of the St Ann police, Superintendent Steve Brown, described the constables as "talented, bright young men". He says the incident had a severe impact on the mood of their colleagues in the division as the two constables were very popular.
Many had to be supported by counsellors from the police's Chaplaincy Unit who also provided grief counselling to family members.
The members of the Content Gardens Police Youth Club in the parish, where Walsh was a member, are also grieving the death of the constables.
Trevor Grier, president of the Club says he was an active leader who was reliable and supportive.
And in a statement a short while ago Police Commissioner Dr Karl Williams expressed condolences to the family and colleagues of the Smith and Walsh.
Williams has promised that a thorough and speedy investigation will be done into the matter.
He says the incident has left the entire police force mourning.