Gunmen continued their bloody rampage in the parish of St. James in Jamaica on Monday night leaving three men dead and a small girl traumatised in the Meggie Top, Salt Spring, community.
The killing of 54-year-old Victor ‘Mr. Chin’ Young, Hartley Campbell, a 34-year-old chef; and Wesley Scott, 57, has left a pall over the community. Residents are fearful that anyone could be next, as the marauding criminals did not even spare a dog, which they fatally shot near Campbell’s cookshop, reports the Jamaica Gleaner.
But while they mourn the killings, it is the horrific image of Young’s three-year-old granddaughter watching him being shot in the face that haunts them most.
“A good man, him never deserve this yah death,” one woman commented, as residents milled around the scene, many refusing to speak for fear of reprisal.
The shopkeeper was considered a ‘godfather’ to the community. Many commented that he gave selflessly to those in need. A son of Westmoreland, Young had been living in Salt Spring for the past five years.
“My husband helped the people around the area send the children to school. Him never want to see anyone hungry. He even had a club round the back for the children,” said widow, Arlette Young, who discovered her spouse’s body in the grocery shop they operated. The three-year-old was found lying beside her grandfather, covered in his blood.
“He didn’t deserve to go like this, he is so good to them,” Mrs. Young said amid tears.
Since January, 151 people have been killed in the parish, 16 more than the total number of homicides recorded in 2005.
During police raids following the brutal attack on the community, four men were detained for questioning. Investigators say a major player behind a St. James criminal grouping is being sought.
Mark Kerr-Jarrett, chairman of the St. James Parish Development Committee, blames the escalating crime situation on “poor governance and the mismanagement of the nation.”
“It is a complex situation that should have been addressed a decade ago by our politicians,” the former president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce stated.
“Between the easy access to weapons and the slim likelihood of being punished, where is the deterrent? Vicious crimes are becoming more frequent,” he added.
St. James has seen at least seven cases of multiple killings since the start of the year. Just a week ago, 65-year-old Trevor Scott and his 52-year-old wife Sandra were murdered at their Humber Avenue home in Montego Bay.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mark Shields, during a tour of Salt Spring in September, called for a joint partnership approach to crime fighting in the western parish, following increased gun violence in the area and nearby Bottom Pen in Glendevon.