STUDENTS, PARENTS and other pedestrians scampered to dodge bullets fired by policemen during a protest along East Queen Street, Central Kingston yesterday afternoon while others searched for pipes to wash teargas from their eyes.
The disturbance was sparked by the police's shooting of a reputed area don, Wyndell "Steve" Cooper, whom protestors, mostly from Wildman Street, charged had been killed in cold blood.
The demonstration began on Wildman Street but quickly spread to East Queen Street.
The protest held up traffic along East Queen Street between Smith Lane and Hanover Street for nearly an hour.
Businesses in the area quickly pulled down their shutters as protesters pelted the lawmen with stones. The police retaliated by firing shots and teargas canisters.
According to the police, at about 12:30 p.m. they were on an operation area when they went to premises at 37 Wildman Street where a shootout ensued.
Cooper was shot and taken to the Kingston Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The police said a 9mm automatic pistol was taken from the body.
However, a teenager, who said she was an eyewitness, contradicted the police's story. She said the police entered the yard where she and Cooper were. She said Cooper, who had just returned from court, was having lunch when they were approached.
She said the police came into the house and asked Cooper his name. When he told them it was Wyndell Cooper, they accused him of lying. The teenager said he told the police he was also called Steve and then the police told them to leave the yard.
The shaken teenager said the police pulled their weapons and she shouted out to them not to kill Cooper. "Dem tell mi seh a no my business and mi fi come out a di yard," she said. "The police kick weh him foot and shoot him when him deh pon the ground," the teary-eyed girl said.