No major breakthrough in May Pen robbery - Detainees in hostage stand-off released
Two months after gunmen shot two policemen and held business operators hostage in a daring mid-morning heist in May Pen, Clarendon, senior police sleuths say they have made no major breakthrough in their probe.
At least six heavily armed gangsters remain on the run after barging into a supermarket before engaging cops in a heated gun battle, using the operators of the supermarket as human shields to make their escape from cops.
A constable was shot in the face and a sergeant in the abdomen and groin as the gunmen made off with an estimated $3 million, mobile phones and other valuables valued at approximately $200,000.
Days after the incident, and after much tough talking by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang and the Clarendon police divisional command, sleuths announced that three suspects had been arrested for the shooting.
However, The Gleaner has confirmed that the men have since been released.
“There was not enough to hold them,” said Deputy Superintendent Christopher Brown, head of investigations for Area Three Police, which comprises Clarendon, St Elizabeth, and Manchester.
Brown could not immediately say when the suspects were let go or whether they were being investigated for other crimes in the parish. He noted, however, that investigators have been employing a slew of strategies to ensure that the trail for those responsible for the heist does not go cold.
Since the incident, a shotgun, three M16 magazines and a 9mm magazine, multiple spent shells, along with almost $500,000 have been recovered. But Brown declined to say what leads have been presented from ballistic investigations.
“The team remains committed and wishes to reassure the public that we are exploring and seizing all opportunities to ensure we bring this matter to a successful closure,” he said. “In recent weeks, the team has recovered six stolen vehicles, several illegal guns, and in excess of five hundred assorted rounds of ammunition.”
Brown’s reassurance was welcomed by residents of some Clarendon communities, but they remain fearful.
“Nobody nah go too want talk about that. The man dem weh pull off that a di baddest set a man inna May Pen. Everybody knows that,” said one male resident when pressed.
Meanwhile, some residents have renewed calls for Clarendon to be declared a zone of special operations in a bid to curb crime there.
Last Thursday, Mike Henry, member of parliament for Central Clarendon, downplayed allegations that the gunmen were affiliated and protected by politicians in the parish.
“If that is your information, I don’t know about that,” he said, noting that it would take some time for newly appointed head Senior Superintendent Glenford Miller to make progress in Clarendon.
Two Wednesdays ago, Miller told a monthly Business Improvement District meeting in May Pen that his aim was to make May Pen safe for people to do business.
“I’m not going to tell you that I am here to work a miracle ... . I can tell you that I am here to work. We are trying to look at what is happening, look to see how we can serve communities, and trying to see how we can fix the problem,” he said, adding that effective policing in May Pen is critical for safety in the parish.
Custos and Chairman of the Clarendon Crime Prevention Committee William Shagoury said that the body has been carrying out several initiatives aimed at reaching unattached youth.
He said that he is confident that those measures will bear fruit but said that this would only be possible if residents supported the police.
CLARENDON CRIME FIGURESJan 1 - June 30, 2019
Jan. 1 - June 30, 2018