Fatalities unfortunate, but we have to defend ourselves — police
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) says it regrets the fatal shooting of six alleged gang members of the Ski Mask Gang who were killed by security personnel in St James last Saturday.
However, it says members of the security forces are required to defend themselves in the face of criminal attacks.
The JCF says the shootings happened during a joint police-military operation in Adelphi, St James, when the lawmen signalled the driver of a white Toyota Corolla motorcar to stop.
They say the driver complied but several armed men exited the vehicle and fired at the security team.
The police say when the gunfire was returned, the six men were killed and one cop injured.
They reportedly recovered four firearms and a quantity of ammunition.
In a release this afternoon, the JCF said it takes no pleasure in the loss of life, and regrets that these six young men were fatally shot.
It says the men would have been taken into custody, and charged if they had surrendered peacefully.
It's warning suspects and wanted persons to desist from violent confrontation with the police and peacefully turn themselves in with the assistance of family, clergy or their attorney.
Meanwhile, four of the six deceased have been identified as leader of the Ski Mask Gang Oswyn Jarret, Dino Pryce, Marlon Samuels and Andre Daley.
The other two men have been identified by their aliases ‘Fargo' and 'Shenkay'.
The police say they are confident the nucleus of the Ski Mask gang has been destroyed.
They say the gang has terrorised the residents of Barrett Town and neighbouring communities for several years and are responsible for over 20 murders and shootings of residents, including women and children.
The Ski Mask Gang has also reportedly forced scores of residents to flee the community by firebombing their homes and sexually assaulting women and children.
Yesterday morning, some residents in Barrett Town reportedly openly celebrated the killings, banging pot covers together although they refused to speak about the issue.