Umbrella gang members convicted of shooting charges
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
THE top brass of the St Catherine South Police Division have been patting themselves on the back after two alleged top-ranking members of Portmore's Umbrella Gang were convicted in the Gun Court division of the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
Travis McPherson, aka 'Shrek', and Odean Samuels, aka 'Zeeks', were found guilty of shooting at members of the St Catherine South Fugitive Apprehension Team in June 2009. The men are to be sentenced on June 3.
McPherson and Samuels, described by St Catherine South's Senior Superintendent Colin Pinnock as being among the top-five members of the notorious Newland-Naggo Head-based gang, were among four men charged for the incident and who appeared before Justice Sarah Thompson-James.
The other two were freed as the Crown, whose case was marshalled by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Taylor, had no evidence that they had shot at the police on the night of June 12.
Two police personnel involved in the shoot-out, Sergeant Rodney Matthews and District Constable Jason McKay, testified that they were part of a specially trained unit sent into Newland, on foot, to locate heavily armed men in the volatile area, the hub of gangland activities in Portmore.
After spotting their intended targets, Matthews and McKay radioed for reinforcement and, while doing so, were discovered by men who took them on in a gunfight.
The lawmen testified that they had to shoot their way out of the area. Samuels was held during a search, whereas McPherson was found holed up in the Hunts Bay region months later.
During the trial, the Crown introduced into evidence photographs of bullet-riddled zinc fencing detailing the policemen's encounter with the gunmen.