Shattered hope! - Warring gunmen leave 56-year-old cursing his luck
When Errol Gordon stopped to play a board game at his usual 'chill spot' in the area known as Mongoose Town off Waltham Park Road in the Corporate Area just after 8 p.m. last January, he never considered that his life would be transformed into the nightmare he is now living.
At 56 years old, Gordon is confined to a nursing home bed, paralysed from the waist down after being shot in the back when gunmen, reportedly from Mongoose Town, and rivals believed to be from the nearby Delacree Lane engaged in a shoot-out.
The incident has left Gordon thin and incontinent. The once lively cyclist, who made a living from selling car batteries, now relies on nursing home workers for almost all his most basic needs.
"I can't believe this happened to me. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life," said Gordon, pointing to his lifeless lower limbs as he recounted the ill-fated seconds.
"Is our ludo corner that. Is pure people my age me play there. I saw some people up the lane a shuffle up, but me never did a pay no attention to that. Then all me hear is some wild shot firing and everybody start running," Gordon told The Sunday Gleaner.
He tried to run as well but found he could not. Instead, he fell in pain, stretching for help from others who took some time to realise he had been shot.
Doctors at the Kingston Public Hospital said he suffered an irreversible injury to his spine, but that his mobility can improve with regular physiotherapy.
"Trust me, my life has changed all out. I use to buy batteries and sell. Right now, I have nuff calls on my phone from people saying that they have nuff things save for me, but right now no saving can't go on because I don't know where I stand right now," said Gordon.
"I am a bicycle man. I have been riding for more than 30 years now. This is the wickedest thing that has ever happened to me. It slow me up bad," moaned Gordon, who lived alone in the Corporate Area community of Seaview Gardens, having lost his only son decades ago.
Last Thursday, head of the St Andrew South Police Division, Senior Superintendent Arthur Brown, confirmed the reports of the gang feud in the two communities.
"There is a gang feud going on in that space. We were told he was shot by men trading bullets in the area in the evening hours," said Brown.
"We have been looking for some persons, one main perpetrator, but we haven't been able to apprehend him as yet.
"But we have been bolstering our presence in the area and we have been having some meetings with the residents to try to keep things under control," added Brown.
All of Gordon's close relatives live in the United Kingdom, so outside of the nursing home staff there is no one to take care of him, a duty which at minimum entails repositioning him on his bed every two hours.
Last Tuesday, his sister Barbara Hamilton was moved to tears as she spoke about the incident which has changed her brother's life.
Hamilton was in Jamaica late last August and has not had a chance to visit her older brother since his injury.
"The violence is just very disgusting. It is a place that we born and grow so everybody knows everybody. And now things is just out of hand," said Hamilton.
"Up here, whenever anybody says they want to visit and they remember the violence is like it just turns them off. It's like you can't feel comfortable in your country.
"He is my older brother. We take care of him from here. And I am so upset, so sad about this," she said, noting that she has kept news of the incident away from their mother, who also lives in the United Kingdom.
Hamilton said she has spent more than $300,000 on medication and other items over the past three months for her brother and pays thousands of dollars to the nursing home each month.
For Hamilton, it's now about taking care of her brother in a brutish and violent country which she still thinks of as home.