Fri | Apr 3, 2020

St Thomas cop had asked for prayer

Published:Tuesday | September 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Deputy Superintendent Patrick Bennett, in charge of operations for St Thomas, tries to appease angry protesters in Yallahs Square, St Thomas, yesterday. They were protesting the police killing of 27-year-old Kay-Ann Lamont, a mother of two who was eight months pregnant. She was shot and killed on Saturday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator

The religious community and police force in Yallahs, St Thomas, are in shock over what could have caused their church brethren and colleague to allegedly kill a pregnant mother of two and attempt to kill her two sisters.

"This is really, really surprising to me. I am still at a loss as to why this happened, as are a lot of the community members, members of the police force in St Thomas and his church brethren," said Deputy Superintendent Patrick Bennett, in charge of operations for St Thomas.

"He is a community-oriented person, who born and grow up in Yallahs. I have known him all his life. I know his father who was a policeman, who has now retired and is living abroad."

On Saturday, following an altercation with one of three sisters in the Yallahs Square, the policeman reportedly shot 27-year-old Kay-Ann Lamont twice in the head, killing her on the spot. She was eight months pregnant.

The policeman then reportedly shot her sister Novia and attempted to shoot their other sister, Shemean, who said she had to run and hide behind a market vendor.

According to eyewitnesses, had he not been restrained by a fellow policeman, he would have probably killed all three women.

Novia has been hospitalised with a gunshot wound to the left shoulder, while Shemean told The Gleaner: "I am still in shock and terrified. I still can't believe what happened."

Shemean said the women were protesting the policeman's treatment of their sister, after she used indecent language in his presence and he attempted to arrest her, but she resisted.

Bennett said the policeman was himself in shock and was under a suicide watch because of his distraught mental state.

"He is very distraught and is undergoing counselling. He is really traumatised and we have to have people around him all the time," said the deputy superintendent, who operates from the Morant Bay Police Station.

Church choir member

Bennett said what was more surprising about the officer's action was that he is a Christian, a member of the choir at the Yallahs New Testament Church of God, a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Christian Association and a member of the St Thomas arm of the Community Safety and Security Outreach programme.

The accused policeman, who has been a member of the police force for more than 12 years, was stationed at the Morant Bay Police Station and later transferred to Llandewey before moving to the Yallahs Police Station two years ago, when he was promoted to corporal.

The corporal, who is reportedly in his mid 30s, lives in the Yallahs community with his wife and two children and is known by several of the residents.

One church sister, who declined to be named, said on the Sunday and Wednesday before the shooting, the policeman had got up in church to testify and asked them to pray for him.

"Him say from him get promotion people a try do him something and him a beg we fi pray for him. Him really did a behave strange from weh day. Me just feel somebody do him something fi him do dis. Believe me, dis a nuh him. A nuh him dis weh do dat," she said.

"Him just snap just suh! Dis nuh normal!" her friend said to her.

Bennett said the corporal was still in custody as the Independent Commission of Investigations continues its investigations.