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Agencies to probe Salt Spring killing

Published:Friday | April 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Adrian Frater, News Editor


THE SILENCE surrounding the deaths of two men, who were killed in a police operation in Salt Spring, St James, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, was broken on Wednesday when both the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) announced they would be probing the incident.

Shortly after 7:30 a.m., an eyewitness told The Gleaner that a police unit had dropped off two bodies (the men in question) at a funeral home in Montego Bay. However, efforts throughout the day to get details on the killing proved futile, as the St James police declined to provide details.

"I can confirm that it happened, but I have no details," a police officer told The Gleaner some nine hours after the shooting. "You just have to wait until the details come out."

However, in a release on Wednesday, INDECOM said the men were killed at approximately 5:30 a.m. in a pre-dawn operation in Gopeice, Salt Spring. The release said one man was identified as Kemar Eribert and the other was unidentified.

The incident

The INDECOM report quoted the police as saying that a joint team of some 50 police and military personnel was doing routine checks in the Gopiece area when they came upon an unfinished house.

Upon entering the house, they heard shuffling and observed two men who appeared to have been sleeping. One of the men allegedly reached for a firearm and opened fire on the lawmen. The fire was returned and a gun battle ensued.

The police added that, when the shooting subsided, the two men were found suffering from gunshot wounds. They were subsequently pronounced dead. The police said they recovered two firearms, a 9mm 40 calibre Smith and Wesson and a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, with 18 and 24 rounds, respectively.

The death scene was subsequently processed by INDECOM's forensics team as a part of their investigations. The hands of the officers involved as well as those of the deceased men were swabbed.

In its release, the BSI also confirmed the shooting of the men.

Residents of the area were tight-lipped about the incident and efforts to contact the family of Eribert proved futile as nobody seems to have any information on them.