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‘Why my baby?’ - Another mother mourns in west Kingston as gunmen continue to wreak havoc

Published:Sunday | August 23, 2015 | 8:00 AMCorey Robinson
Angella Smith weeps as she holds a picture of her murdered daughter, 15-year-old Jazianne Cole.

The ever-present laughter of 15-year-old Jazianne Cole, affectionately called 'Angel', that normally echoed in the Tulip Lane, Denham Town, west Kingston tenement yard her family calls home, was absent when our news team visited late last week Angel's laughter was replaced with chilling wails, angry words strung on a line of expletives as a police team patrolled the spot where Cole was gunned down.

The teenager was shot at least eight times in the head and back by gangsters shortly after 3 p.m. last Wednesday.

Her death moved the number of persons killed from Denham Town to three in recent days and more than 20 since the start of the year.

The latest killing has left a mother struggling to deal with life after the loss of a daughter.

"Me want dead too. Me wish dem kill me too. Me nuh have nuh reason fi live," sobbed Angel's 53-year-old mother, Angella Smith, as she slowly pulled herself from her grief to talk with our news team.

"You see how she a laugh in the picture? That is how she always a laugh. Why my baby? Why them have to kill my baby?"

Smith, having not slept since her daughter was killed, did not have the strength to join her neighbours in a protest last Thursday. She was too weak to stand, and collapsed on a step leading into her humble dwelling.

 

RECOUNTING THE INCIDENT

 

"Me just hear gunshot a fire pon a straight and me see me likkle grandniece run come in and say two bwoy a fire shot outside and Angel out there. When me run go through the gate is when the last set a shot a fire," recounted Smith.

"When me go out there me see somebody lay down on the ground and me seh 'a which bwoy dat, a who dem kill?' And same time somebody say is your daughter. And me nuh know nothing more after that. Me just faint away, and when me come back to myself me wet from head to toe," sobbed the woman, clutching her daughter's picture under her breast.

"Me nuh see no reason for this and them come kill my baby just like that. Oh, God, why my baby? Why my daughter," she cried, causing others around her to break down in tears as she spoke.

The residents claimed that Angel's killers may have been looking for a man from the community, and having not found him they opened fire on the child. Police could not confirm those claims.

The angry residents who gathered with placards last Thursday, fumed at what they described as unfair treatment by cops in the Western Kingston Police Division led by Senior Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford.

 

POLICE NOT DOING ENOUGH

 

According to the residents, since the transfer of former divisional commander Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor months ago, gunmen from Tivoli Gardens have been given free reign over their community.

"The only time police come here is when the damage already done. Nobody cares for us around here. It is like we are animals," argued Kevin Hinds, a resident of the Tulip Lane tenement yard.

"We children dem a dead daily in the streets and nobody is turning up to help or to stop what is going on in the community. Look how far we live from Tivoli and a man can come up here every day, every night come shoot. How that?

When McGregor was here and it cool down and them move McGregor. From them move McGregor and put Mr Ford here it start up again. We need peace. This need fi stop," added Hinds.

But Ford dismissed the claims from the residents, as he told our news team that the Tivoli Gardens community was raided about noon last Thursday and several men detained in connection with the killing of the schoolgirl.

According to Ford, the police are carrying out their investigations before anyone is charged and he is not troubled by the residents' complaints of unfair treatment.

"It comes with the territory. We carried out a raid in Tivoli Gardens today and them curse me dog rotten," said Ford. "As long as them can't get what them want from you they are going to say that you are siding with people. So, like I said, it comes with the territory."

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com