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Teens, elder among slain gangsters - Family and associates say they were no angels

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater

Western Bureau:

Based on reports from families and associates, two of the alleged gangsters killed in Sunday night's gun battle with a police-military patrol in Goodwill, St James, were teenage boys, while another was a Rastafarian believed to be in his late 50s.

In what the police said was a fierce gunfight, three of St James' most wanted men - Marlon 'Brutus' Samuels, Dino 'Buju' Pryce, and Oswin 'Ski Mask' Jarrett - were among the six men killed. They were identified at the scene.

Yesterday, the police identified the other three men as Horatio 'Fargo' Fowler, Devon 'Shanky' Wills and AndrÈ 'Pops' Daley. Based on reports from relatives and associates, Fowler and Daley were said to be 16 and 17 years old, respectively, while Wills is believed to be in his late 50s.

Daley and Wills are said to be from Jenkins Corner in Barrett Town, an area where reported 'top men' Samuels, Pryce and Jarrett were based. It is also a known base for the Ski Mask and House of Guns gangs. Fowler reportedly resided with relatives in Long Bay, on the St James-Trelawny border.

"I could not believe when I saw Shanky lying on that table," said South Florida-based radio personality Bevan 'Duke of Earle' Earle, who saw photographs of the body on social media. "He was my schoolmate from Spot Valley, I spoke with him just before Christmas while I was on vacation in Jamaica ... he stopped at my gate and we spoke for a while."

While many persons expressed surprise that Wills was in the company of such notorious men, some residents of his community said they were not surprised, hinting that he was not an angel.

With regard to Fowler, residents of Long Bay described him as a youngster with a penchant for 'rolling' with the wrong crowd, despite the best efforts of his family to keep him away from 'badness'.

"When we would speak to him about the kind of friends he was keeping, he would say he was going to cut ties with them," a relative who asked not to be identified told The Gleaner yesterday. "However, when they call him, he would just leave with them ... . Sometimes I wonder if he really wanted to be a badman or he was just too scared to tell them no."

While the police are reasonably confident that they have accurately identified the six men, Senior Superintendent of Police Marlon Nesbeth, the commanding officer for St James, said additional verifications were being done.

"That is the information so far," said Nesbeth. "We are still ensuring that we confirm in regards to bio-data and everything else provided, but that is the information we have so far as to the identity of the men."