Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Gangsters killed in St James shoot-out

Published:Thursday | February 20, 2020 | 12:29 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

Two men who have been on the radar of the St James police for violent crimes were shot and killed when they engaged a police-military team in a gunfight in Mud Valley in Retirement, near Granville, in St James.

In what was described as a running gun battle by eye witnesses, Keemo ‘Jiggy’ Kerr, who was implicated in two separate shooting incidents in Granville over the past three days; and Kemoy ‘Beenie Man’ Smart, who has been fingered for several murders in the parish, were killed.

A third man, who was also being sought by the police for gun-related crimes, was shot and injured. He is now battling for his life in hospital.

Two illegal firearms were seized following the shooting, which lasted for just under two hours and took the lawmen into rugged terrain across several districts. Some of the gangsters who were involved in the shooting managed to escape.

“Although we are seeing a reduction in crime in the parish, we are nowhere where we want to be, so we remain resolute in our quest to take illegal guns out of the hands of criminals,” said Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the commanding officer for the St James police.

“I hope the criminals are getting the message ... . They have been less fortunate this year than in former years.”

According to Ellis, the police have been tracking Kerr, who reportedly shot up a house in Pitfour, near Granville, on Sunday; engaged the police in a shoot-out on Monday; and shot and injured a man on Gordon Crescent in Granville on Tuesday.

“When the people learned that this man (Kerr) was killed, there was much celebration. He was released from police custody in another parish some time ago, and since his return, he has been shooting up the place and creating much fear,” said Ellis.

With the Mud Valley, Retirement, and Granville communities now under increased police scrutiny, Ellis has identified Asani Blackwood, alias ‘TG’, as a person of interest.

“We want to tell him that we would prefer if he turns himself in,” said Ellis.

Since the start of the year, St James, which has been under a state of emergency for the better part of two years, has recorded a 20-year low in the murder rate.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com