Tue | Feb 25, 2020

I did it for my girl: Corporal found strength in daughter to battle gunman in fight of his life

Published:Tuesday | October 22, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Special Corporal Jermaine Burgher
Special Sergeant Paulette Smith-Mullings (left) congratulates Special Corporal Jermaine Burgher, who was presented with the Medal of Honour for Gallantry yesterday. - Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
1
2

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

Special Corporal Jermaine Burgher has credited the love for his daughter as the reason why he is still alive today.

Burgher was shot three times while travelling on a bus after visiting his then months-old daughter in St Catherine last June, but the young policeman managed to cut down the gunman who attempted to take his life and rob the passengers.

Burgher said while he was being attacked, he kept thinking of his baby girl growing up without a father.

"I had just gone to look for her, and the whole time I was fighting, I just kept saying, 'I can't go like this. I haven't spent enough time with her.' My daughter is my joy," the 27-year-old corporal said.

During yesterday's Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards at King's House, Burgher was given the Medal of Honour for Gallantry.

SURPRISED AT HONOUR

The young corporal said he was not expecting an award for what he did, as he was simply doing his job.

"It was a surprise to me, at first, but it is always great to get an award like this, as it is of great importance and a national honour," Burgher modestly noted.

However, the incident that earned him the medal for gallantry is still clearly etched in his mind.

"He (the gunman) turned back and said, 'Hey, police bwoy, mi know you enuh an' a dead yuh fi dead', and I couldn't draw my service pistol," Burgher recounted.

"So, I just sprung from my seat towards him and the first shot I got was in my left arm. We were there tussling and then he put the gun to my ear and I held his hand and moved, so my ear got grazed.

"Then he fired one more, which hit me in my side. We were there still tussling until I eased him off, kicked him, and his gun fell to the ground," Burgher continued.

He said it was at this point that he managed to load his firearm, even though one of his hands was rendered useless at the time because of the gunshot wound.

"He then took his gun back up and he was about to finish me, and that's when I managed to fire the shots before he did," Burgher added.

When the smoke cleared, Burgher, who grew up in St Thomas and Portland and always dreamt of becoming a police officer, managed to survive the ordeal without his career being threatened.

jermaine.francis@gleanerjm.com