SUICIDE OR MURDER?

Published: Sunday | January 20, 2013 Comments 0
The late Special Constable Kennard Chong.
The late Special Constable Kennard Chong.

Family members question death of special constable

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

Apart from being a great dancer and a computer whiz, young Special Constable Kennard Chong also vowed never to let his family down.

According to friends and family members, Chong - an only child for his adoring father - was a happy boy who grew into a well-adjusted young man.

Minutes before his final breath last Sunday evening, he called to say he was on his way to his parents' home for dinner. But that was not to be.

Initial reports suggested that Special Constable Chong had committed suicide at his upper St Andrew home.

However, later official reports were restricted to the fact that the special constable died from a single gunshot wound to the head. They made no mention of suicide or murder.

"This is officially an open investigation, and we are awaiting the results of the ballistics tests," said Karl Angell, director of communications at the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

He noted that two other persons were reportedly in the house at the time that the special constable was shot so that there was no rush to arrive at a conclusion on the part of the investigators.

"The Scenes of Crime people swabbed the hands and clothes of both persons, and those have been sent to the forensic lab," added Angell.

no reason for suicide

But even as the police carry out their probe, the family of the 23-year-old cop is adamant that he would never end his life.

"He had no reason to commit suicide - none at all," said family members and friends.

When The Sunday Gleaner team visited the family last week, grief hung heavy like a mango tree laden with unripe fruit.

The family members pointed to several questions they want answered before they accept that the man who had set his sights on leading the police intelligence unit would kill himself.

"Why would somebody who is right-handed shoot himself in the left side of his neck?" asked one family member as he pointed to where the single bullet wound was found on Chong's body.

"Without any knowledge of these things, logically, if you right-handed, don't the bullet should be on the right side of the body, or even in the front of the face? Why would he twist him hand so to shoot himself on the left side?," added the family member who asked not to be named.

The Sunday Gleaner checked several suicide-investigation websites online and they seemed to agree with the family member.

According to www.enotes.com/ suicide-investigation-reference: "The classic discharge to the temple is found only with a handgun and the wound will be on the same side of the head as the dominant hand of the victim. A left-handed person cannot readily shoot himself in the right temple."

who was in the car?

The family members are also asking questions about who took the injured Chong to the hospital.

The official report was that he was taken to the hospital by a woman who was in the building at the time of the incident, but the family members say they have been told that a man was also in the car when it arrived at the hospital.

"Less than a hour before we get the news that him kill himself, him did call and say him coming for dinner. That time him did upbeat and happy," claimed a family member.

The grief of the family members was compounded on Monday when the woman who was Chong's main caregiver after his mother migrated collapsed and died hours after leaving the hospital where he had been taken.

Merna Bennett, who the special constable called 'Auntie', saw him take his last breath at the University Hospital of the West Indies before he died.

Overcome with the weight of grief, the woman who was not yet 60 years old, gave up on life, family members said.

So in 24 hours, Linton Chong lost his only child and his sister-in-law.

"If I knew my son would die, I would take his place. I would give anything to be in his place," the special constable's father told The Sunday Gleaner.

"I just have this burning feeling inside, and I can't explain the pain. I can't tell you how it feels. He was my only son, my only child," said a broken Linton Chong as he placed his hand over his heart.

wedding two months away

The special constable would have been 24 years old on Tuesday, with his planned wedding being less than two months away.

Those who knew him said he had a strong sense of family.

"We had a thing between us where he always said, 'Never bring disgrace on the family, never let down the family'," said his friend Maurice as he argued that suicide would be the ultimate disgrace for the family.

Chong went to Montessori Centre, Vaz Preparatory, St George's College, Excelsior Community College, and Quality Academics.

He aced the Grade Six Achievement Test at age 10, and his father remembers having to write to St George's College to get the school to accept him at that age.

The young man, who joined the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) in 2009, was assigned to Harman Barracks in the agro and environment unit.

Following his death, he was described by deputy commandant of the ISCF, Calvin Allen, as "having good manners and being committed to the job".

That commitment to the job is one more reason why his family is adamant that this was no suicide.


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