Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Looking along Pearl Avenue in Harbour View, St Andrew, it's hard to believe a life was snuffed out at the gate of one of its well-kept residences on Monday night.
The usually quiet section of the community is literally in walking distance from the police station, but that did not deter gunmen from taking the life of Detective Sergeant Courtnie Simpson. The lawman had served the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for more than 20 years. He was last assigned to the Protective Services Division.
At times yesterday, his widow Samanthia struggled to find the words, the tragedy still incomprehensible to her muddled mind. She appeared dazed, her eyes sleepy and her voice barely above a whisper. Around her neck, she wears three items on a chain: Courtnie's ring and two dog tags.
"Because he has allergies," she explained about the dog tags. "So he would keep this all the time. Even last night when they took him to the hospital, they could see what medication he's allergic to."
A real family man
But no medicine could save him. Members of Samanthia's family were present, including her sister and mother, answering numerous cell-phone calls as persons offered their support. The couple's son was doing what children do: running around the house one minute, and then stopping to watch cartoons the next.
"He was a real, real family man," Simpson said, as she leafed through photographs of the trio. She noted that on Saturday, Simpson took their son out for a haircut and a snack. She smiled weakly as she remembered she felt 'jealous', wanting to join in the fun.
"He (Courtnie) said, 'I just want to spend some time with him'," she recalled. No one could have anticipated that father and son would now never get to hang out together anymore. She is confused as to why anyone would want to kill her husband.
"He barely even talks," said Simpson, who said her husband also "cherished his job".
Samanthia, a teacher, said she contemplated joining the JCF for a time.
"He said, 'Don't do it'," she recalled. The couple had been together for about 10 years, married for the last four. She recalled living on the grounds of King's House for a time when Simpson was stationed there. They moved to Pearl Avenue last year. Samanthia was actually coming home, as she lived on Pearl Avenue for many years.
"We used to sell cooking gas and rent chairs for parties and so on, so everybody knows me," she said. She was grateful for the police personnel who spent time with the family early Tuesday morning, offering whatever comfort they could.
"They didn't leave until about 3 a.m. They made sure everything was okay," she said. Among the gathering was National Security Minister Peter Bunting and Julian Robinson, state minister for science, technology, energy and mining.
Simpson was assigned to Robinson's security detail. He was previously assigned to other government officials, including Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies.
Police Commissioner Owen Ellington has expressed concern that attacks on present and past members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are becoming frequent. The JCF recently buried retired Deputy Superintendent Denzil Boyd after he was gunned down in front of his Queensborough home on February 24.