Sun | May 29, 2016

Cop killed in training had eyes on higher learning

Published:Saturday | February 2, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

THE POLICE constable controversially killed at the Jamaica Police Academy on Wednesday was slated to begin an undergraduate course at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, in September.

A grieving Sophia Palmer, mother of Ricardo St Patrick McKenzie, told The Gleaner yesterday that her son had joined the police force in order to finance his studies and provide some financial support for his siblings.

McKenzie, who graduated from the academy November 9 last year, was a past student of Denbigh High School in Clarendon where he aced nine CXC subjects with grades 1 and 2 before transferring to Glenmuir High School to do sixth form. The decision to join the police was out of a desire to provide financial relief for his mother and two teenage siblings.

Palmer explained: "It was a stepping stone to his career path and he did it in order to save some money."

The second of four children to a single mother, the police constable was the breadwinner for his mother and younger brother and sister.

Palmer recalls Patrick as a "good person, nice gentleman, also a church person". In fact, it is her Christian grounding why the distraught mother is able to cope with this tragedy.

"I am a true Christian and so I just lean on my Lord," she told The Gleaner by telephone when asked.

Palmer said she could not speak on the incident which reportedly happened about 10 o'clock Wednesday night, in which five other policemen were injured during an exercise where live ammunition was used. This is in contravention of police training protocol which prohibits the use of live ammunition under the circumstances which led to the incident.