Murder at graveside
Police seek brother after mayhem in Glengoffe
What was supposed to be a gathering of mourning relatives taking steps to prepare a final place for a senior family member dramatically turned into a machete-wielding and gunslinging bloodbath in Glengoffe, St Catherine, on Wednesday, leaving one brother dead and another reportedly on the run.
Dead is 42-year-old Noel Phipps, otherwise called ‘David’, a farmer of Lovely Grove in Glengoffe.
On Thursday, shame and despair hung on the faces of relatives as they worked feverishly to complete the grave-digging after preparations were halted on Wednesday as the area was transformed into a crime scene.
Some remained tight-lipped and coerced others not to shed light on the incident when The Gleaner visited, only declaring that the conflict was not over land.
“The whole a ya suh a fi Phipps. Any Phipps want do anything dem want do can do it. Nobody can’t say a me own ya so and me own deh so. The land no will out to anybody,” said a cousin, who reportedly arrived in Jamaica to see Phipps’ body lying near the grave site.
Some relatives chastised the police, saying they took hours to process the scene and remove the victim’s body.
A sister of the deceased told The Gleaner that she was saddened by the tragedy.
“Mi and mi brother was close. We follow back of each other. Wah happen happened already, and mi can’t bring him back,” she said.
Phipps’ mother was not at the scene on Thursday, opting to remain indoors at her Apple Lane home.
“Is my two sons. Mi nuh know what happen. I was not there,” she said tearfully before a daughter ushered her away.
A Glengoffe resident told our news team that the incident drew a large crowd and had set tongues wagging in the farming community.
“We know the two of dem. ... The family shame because one son dead and the next one run weh gone ‘bout him business,” the resident told The Gleaner.
A truck driver, who went to the location to deliver material to assist with the grave-digging, reportedly ran, leaving the vehicle behind when he heard the explosions.
“It block up the likkle roadway. Not even the police could pass, and the vehicle that belongs to one of the brothers was blocked in as well,” a resident said, recounting the chaos.
Reports from the Above Rocks police are that about 10:30 a.m., Phipps was at a grave site when an argument developed between him and his brother.
When the dispute escalated, the suspect pulled a firearm from his waistband and fired several shots at Phipps.
The police were alerted, and on their arrival, Phipps was seen lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.
He was transported to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The police are appealing to the suspect to turn himself in at the Above Rocks Police Station by midday Friday.
They are also urging people who have any information that can assist in the investigation to contact the Above Rocks police at 876-903-9287, police emergency at 119, Crime Stop at 311, or the nearest police station.