Wed | Oct 18, 2017

WEST KINGSTON ENQUIRY: Explosions from Grizzly rifle may have caused 27-ton front-end loader to tilt

Published:Wednesday | July 1, 2015 | 12:38 PMLivern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
Corporal Marvin McLennon (right) points to bullet holes on the front-end loader he was operating during the May 2010 operations in Tivoli Gardens to Sir David Simmons (third left) and other members of the Enquiry at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston today.
Corporal Marvin McLennon ... "I knew it was not something I stumbled on and what I theorised is that the bullet caused the front-end loader to tilt. Based on the impact, I thought it may have been the [Grizzly] Big Boar 50 calibre rifle".
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A member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) this morning recounted how two strikes minutes apart believed to be from a 50-calibre weapon, caused the 27-tonne front-end loader he was operating during the May 2010 operations in Tivoli Gardens to tilt off the ground.

Corporal Marvin McLennon was testifying before the west Kingston commission of enquiry about escaping death during the operations.

McLennon testified that he was using the front-end loader to clear a blockade mounted near the Tivoli Gardens High School when the first bullet rocked the vehicle.

"I felt the impact and the front end loader tilt to the right," McLennon said as he demonstrated to the commission.

"I knew it was not something I stumbled on and what I theorised is that the bullet caused the front-end loader to tilt. Based on the impact, I thought it may have been the [Grizzly] Big Boar 50-calibre rifle," he continued.

Added McLennon: "It hit the [fortified] glass [of the front-end loader] in line with the right side of my head."

He said the second strike came as he positioned the heavy-duty equipment to continue clearing the roadblock.

"I got it back on all four tyres and I position it [the vehicle] straight on with the building when it was hit in the upper portion, in line with my forehead," he revealed.

"I felt the front wheels lift off the ground. I then theorised that the shooter was not trying to disable the front-end loader, but was trying to kill the driver," the JDF Corporal said.

He said the vehicle's windscreens had been fortified with seven layers of bullet proof glass and the 50-calibre bullets pierced them on both occasions, leaving only the original plastic windscreen to be penetrated.