8-y-o orphaned as four slain in Clarendon bloodbath
The bloodstained floor and mattresses bore the gruesome reminder of gun violence that claimed the lives of the parents of an eight-year-old boy and two others in southwestern Clarendon on Sunday.
The child’s father, 25-year-old Michael Solomon; his mother, 25-year-old Sherona Whyte; Sherona’s sister, Tashana Whyte, 33; and the Whytes’ 19-year-old nephew, Luke Newman, were murdered in the Phase Three area of Havannah Heights in Clarendon shortly after midnight on Sunday.
Reports from the police Constabulary Communication Unit are that about 12:10 a.m., all four persons were at home when armed men gained access to the house and opened gunfire, hitting all four occupants.
Havannah Heights is four kilometres west of Clarendon’s capital, May Pen.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, who is in charge of the crime portfolio, told The Gleaner that three children were removed from a room and placed in another before the Whyte sisters and their nephew were killed. He said that Solomon was shot outside the house.
Solomon’s mother, Jennifer Lennon, had no clue that when her son told her “I love you” on Saturday it would have been the last time.
The distraught mother said that she could not imagine life without the younger of her two children.
“I don’t think I’m gonna make it. Believe me. He was my baby. Michael have mi heart. Michael do everything fi me,” she said on Sunday.
The mother said her son’s murder is even more painful because he was never involved in any illegal activities. She said he instead spent his days trying to perfect his culinary skills.
Lennon reported that her son had recently moved back to the community as she had sent him to another parish out of fear. She revealed that her son had disarmed a gunman who was subsequently mobbed and killed in the neighbourhood last year.
“Michael was a good, good pickney. No police never haffi come for him because Michael ‘fraid a police,” she said.
Police sources have disclosed that a sibling of the Whyte sisters was the intended target.
It was also reported that an ongoing feud between the target and his former cronies, allegedly over illicit monies gained through lottery scamming, may have triggered the attack.
Sunday’s attack on the alleged target’s family was the third reprisal stemming from the incident, The Gleaner understands.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Michael Smith, who is in charge of Area Three, toured Havannah Heights and offered condolences to the family. He described the crime as heinous and tragic.
“We want to let them (the family) know that we are going to be here and to reassure them that we will get to the bottom of this incident,” Smith said.
“As law-enforcement officers, we are going to work to ensure that this matter is dealt with assiduously and in a speedy way so that it can be resolved.”
Smith, who characterised Havannah Heights as problematic, said the police have always maintained a strong presence in the area. A team was on patrol in the community approximately 15 minutes before the incident, said the assistant commissioner.
“Presence in this area is always heightened because even last week Thursday, we had an operation, and we’ve had several operations in Havannah Heights because it’s one of the spots we keep monitoring. It’s not a community that is left up on its own,” he said.
Councillor Uphell Purcell, who represents the York Town division, is pleading with residents to give information to the police.
“Those criminals don’t care about anybody, and those guns that killed these four people in Havannah Heights can kill anybody in your family, or even you, so make certain you give the information to the police,”said Purcell.
As at September 4, Clarendon recorded a total of 63 murders. The figure is the same for the corresponding period last year.