Constable shot after robbers discover ID
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner writer
Farm, Manchester:RESIDENTS FROM the deep rural community of Farm in southern Manchester are mourning the loss of Constable Orville Preddie, who was killed by gunmen late Thursday night.
Preddie, a 10-year member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force attached to the Asia Police Station, is the second cop to be slain at the hands of gunmen this year.
According to reports, the off-duty cop was at a bar/grocery shop he frequents, when a car drove up and five men alighted, armed with guns. They ordered several customers to lie face down and attempted to rob them. During the search, the gunmen found Preddie's identification card and subsequently shot him.
Father of the deceased, David Preddie, is devastated by his son's death.
"When I heard about it [Thursday] night, in space of about one hour, I went to the bathroom seven times. After seeing them take his body away it really hit home. Since 4 a.m., I have not been able to sleep. The nightmares keep coming. My body is so nervous," he said.
"I have to be strong for myself and the rest of my family, especially his sister, who he was very close to. She's not doing so well at all."
As he tried to fight back the tears, he ended, "I just want justice served for my son."
Preddie was described by community members as ambitious, enterprising and focused.
"Mi caan believe dis happen … . A good yute and dem just cut him down so … . Dat nuh right at all, and mi hope dem find di killer dem," said a member of the community.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting has strongly condemned the murder, declaring that the police force would be relentless in its efforts to maintain law and order.
"The police will not be deterred by this attack on its membership and will maintain their increased presence throughout the season … . It is clear that Constable Preddie lost his life due to his occupation and [it is] indicative of the risks and sacrifices our law-enforcement officers face while serving and protecting this nation," Bunting argued.
SAD TRAGEDY FOR SEASON
He also expressed condolences to Preddie's widow and children, noting that it is particularly sad for his family and associates to lose him in this Yuletide season.
In a news release, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams also expressed condolences to Preddie's family and appealed to other members of the force to exercise the greatest level of caution, both on and off duty.
"We have lost two of our officers in only a few hours under very tragic circumstances. It is indeed an inconsolable time for the family, relatives and colleagues. But as we mourn together, the Police High Command will support the families as best we can during this difficult time … . We will not relent in finding the perpetrators of the murder of Constable Preddie. It was barbaric and cowardice, and those responsible for it will be caught."
The Asia Police are asking anyone with information that can assist them with their investigation to contact them at 855-1150, Crime Stop at 311, Police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.