SOE breached again, two men shot in MoBay
There was a strong police-military presence in the volatile Canterbury community in Montego Bay, St James, as residents were on edge following Wednesday's shooting of two men in the community by mask-wearing thugs armed with rifles.
"Based on our investigations, there is some amount of tension in the community following a flare-up of violence," a police source told The Gleaner. "We are very disappointed because the ongoing state of public emergency has been keeping a lid on the violence and we can't afford to have gunmen undermining what we are doing to secure a lasting peace."
In the incident in question, which occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m., a labourer was walking in the community when two masked men armed with rifles pounced on him. He tried to run away but was chased and shot. Shortly after, more shots were heard and it was subsequently discovered that a chef was shot and injured.
The two men were rushed to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where they were admitted with bullet wounds to various parts of their bodies.
"All inna di state of emergency dem still deh pon wi. A wha wi do gunman suh? Not even a likkle ease," complained a resident, who noted that there has been several skirmishes in the community in recent days. "Things calm now because di soldier dem in yah now, but wha go happen when dem gone?"
Canterbury is the home base of the Nation Crocs gang, which was led by deceased gangster Omar 'King Evil' Lewis. Since the start of last week, several members of the gang, including Lewis' son, Kasheem 'Borderline' Lewis, have been arrested. He has since been charged with two counts of murder.
Earlier in the week, several prominent St James business stakeholders, including businessman Godfrey Dyer, expressed delight that peace had returned to the parish, which experienced a record 335 murders last year.
"It makes me feel very good, albeit it still leaves me wondering why it was not introduced before," Dyer said, in regard to the significant reduction of violence in St James. "I am quite pleased with the success, and I am looking forward to even more success as the operations continue."
The shooting incidents in Canterbury mark the third of such in the parish since the start of the state of emergency in January. In the previous incidents, a man was shot and killed at a funeral for a gangster in the Quarry community, while a chef was murdered in Red Square in Tucker.
Since the start of the state of emergency in St James, 61 persons have been arrested and charged for various offences, and 523 offensive weapons, inclusive of 18 firearms and some 351 rounds of ammunition, have been seized.