A POLICEWOMAN was shot dead by gunmen yesterday, the first to be slain in 13 years, and the fourth in the history of the Jamaica Constabulary.
Constable Karen Tingle, 34, of the Constant Spring police station, St. Andrew, was gunned down early yesterday at the intersection of Jackson and East roads, Kingston. She was the fifth member of the police force to be shot dead since January.
She is survived by two sons, a 16-year-old and a one-year-old.
The Police High Command is offering a $1-million reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for killing her, the Constabulary Communication Network says.
Cons. Tingle was driving her black Nissan Sunny car to work about 7.30, when three men in a white car opened fire on her. "The men shot her in her right hand, left side and head, right cheek and armpit. The bullets smashed her front window", said Det. Inspector Donovan O'Connor of the St. Andrew South Police Division.
The killing occurred less than a 100 metres from Cons. Tingle's home on Jackson Road, near to Hagley Park Road.
In April 1998 Cons. Tingle was charged with shooting with intent after her boyfriend, Trevor Forbes, 52, a businessman from Wickie Wackie, Bull Bay, St. Andrew, was shot in the right hip and thigh during an argument.
Cons. Tingle was suspended for a while but she returned to work after the case was disposed of.
K.D. Knight, National Security and Justice Minister, Jamaicans For Justice, the human rights watchdog group, the Police Federation and the Jamaica Labour Party expressed shock and regret at the constable's death.
Mr. Knight said the attack on the constable not only showed a disrespect for law and order but underscored that criminal elements were devoid of compassion, even for women in the society.
"The killing of Constable Tingle is a chilling reminder to the citizens of this country that criminal elements have absolutely no respect for human life and are intent on wreaking havoc and mayhem until the country is brought to its knees," said Inspector Merrick Watson, chairman of the Police Federation.
JFJ described Cons. Tingle's killing as heinous and said it hoped the perpetrators would be swiftly brought to justice.
Derrick Smith, JLP spokesman on national security said her death and a triple murder in Arnett Gardens on Wednesday, showed that violent crimes continue to spiral relentlessly out of control, and that the Government's crime-prevention measures and efforts were not working.
Her immediate supervisor for a month, Inspector Neville Knight of the Constant Spring police station, said that Cons. Tingle had made an early impression on him. "I found her to be very straightforward and very energetic," he said.
Inspector Leaford Cookhorne of St. Andrew Central Police Division, where the slain constable worked up to nearly a year ago, shared the sentiments. "She was very friendly and easy to get along with," he said. "I can't remember her looking as if she's vexed with anybody. She's always pleasant."
The last woman constable killed by gunmen, was Pamella Johnston, on December 7, 1987.