Thu | Sep 24, 2020

NCU condemns fatal shooting of professor

Published:Monday | August 10, 2020 | 12:15 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Lightbourn
Lightbourn

CHRISTIANA, Manchester:

The brutal death of Associate Professor at Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Dr Gordon Lightbourn, has reignited calls for a more effective national crime-fighting plan.

Lightbourn’s body was found by the police in a pool of blood on Friday, August 7, at his home in Sedbergh, Christiana, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

The police were alerted after his helper, who did not get a response when she went to the house, looked through a window and saw him lying face down on the floor.

According to police reports, Lighbourn was last seen on Tuesday, August 4, at 10 p.m., around the same time residents say they heard gunshots but could not identify where the sound was coming from.

There was no sign of forced entry to the house.

Pastor Everett Brown, chairman of NCU’s board of governors, said that he was shocked and saddened by the deadly attack on Lightbourn.

“He was a very focused and committed worker has served with distinction and has spearheaded several of NCU’s breakthrough researches,” Brown said on Sunday.

HUGE BLOW

In an earlier statement from the university, Lighbourn’s death was described as dastardly and a huge blow to the institution.

“Dr Lightbourn’s tragic and untimely demise highlights the unacceptable level of crime and violence in the society, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on the authorities and all who desire to lead this nation, to urgently find a solution to this great and appalling malady we call crime.

“Failure to do so will render all of our efforts towards growth and development in vain, and doom our nation to the increasing levels of corruption and stagnation … ,” the statement said.

The NCU said that Lightbourn, who served in the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science, “was a vital part of the national drive for self-sufficiency in the production of Irish potato, and took seriously his role of producing Irish potato seedlings in the lab for distribution to farmers in central Jamaica”.

Lightbourn was also nationally respected for his expertise and work in the field of tissue culture analysis.

Residents told The Gleaner that they could not fathom that the incident happened in their community.

“For the past week or more, very regularly, we have had vehicles passing through and the mufflers were very loud … . I think it could have been a case where people got so used to hearing the loud mufflers that the sound of gunshots could have easily been mistaken for the muffler sounds they were hearing previously,” said a resident, who requested anonymity.

Sedbergh, populated with many working professionals and retirees, is said to be a very quiet community.

“People pretty much stick to themselves. You will see them go out and come back in, and that’s not every day,” said another resident.

“I would see him (Dr Lightbourn) going out on to the main road some days, but that was about it … . I know he lived alone. This whole thing is just very sad.”