Glenroy Sinclair and Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writers
One of the country's most popular front-line crime fighters, retired Senior Superintendent Anthony 'Tony' Hewitt, succumbed to his injuries yesterday evening hours after he was ambushed by two gunmen who shot him at least three times.
Up to yesterday afternoon, investigators at the crime scene had been reporting he was in stable condition.
However, The Gleaner confirmed last night that his injuries proved fatal.
The retired senior officer, who served the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for more than three decades and quit in the early 2000s, was attacked by the gunmen shortly after 1 p.m., immediately after he drove into an apartment complex on Donmair Close in St Andrew.
Reports are that, as he alighted from the car, he was surprised by the two gunmen, one of whom stuck a gun to his neck and whispered in his ear.
Residents said the retired police officer fought off his attackers and then ran back to his car.
While running back to his car, they opened fire, hitting him in the hand, foot and buttocks. Hewitt managed to reach into his car, grabbed his licensed firearm and took on the gunmen.
"One of the bullets also grazed his abdomen," one of the investigators at the crime scene told The Gleaner yesterday.
Reprisal for recent shoot-out
Information reaching The Gleaner is that the attack on Hewitt was a reprisal for a recent incident in which a man from a nearby community was shot by the police.
Yesterday afternoon, National Security Minister Peter Bunting expressed regret at the reported shooting.
"Mr Hewitt was a well-known crime fighter who has distinguished himself in service to the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica," Bunting said in a release. "His family has the support of the Ministry of National Security in this difficult time."
Bunting urged the security forces to act swiftly in their investigations and took the opportunity to remind the public to exercise vigilance as they carry out their daily activities, and to assist the police with any information that could lead to the apprehension of the perpetrators of Hewitt's shooting and any other crime.
Commenting on the incident, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington also condemned the attack and urged investigators to work tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.
Hewitt is one of the senior investigators at the Firearm Licensing Authority.
He was the commanding officer for the Flying Squad Unit in downtown Kingston for many years, the Special Anti-Crime Task Force and a number of elite teams, which originated out of the Criminal Investigation Branch.