HAYES, CLARENDON, Jamaica – Five students were left nursing gunshot wounds and a security guard taken into custody yesterday after they were hit with shrapnel from the Remington shotgun he should have been using to protect the children at Vere Technical High School in Hayes, Clarendon.
Classes were disrupted after the incident, with students allegedly setting the security guard post on the compound ablaze in reprisal for the shooting.
One of the students injured, Winston Henry, told The Gleaner that, about 12:00 noon, he was on his way to a class but stopped to speak with a few of his friends in a classroom at the back of the compound.
Henry claimed they were “surprised” by the security guard who pointed the shotgun at them and, soon after, an explosion was heard and he realised he and the others had been shot.
He said he received wounds to one of his fingers and the other four, all boys, were hit by pellets on various parts of their bodies. Those who were injured are Ryan Edwards (who remained in hospital yesterday), Winston Henry, Romaine Bryan, Shanni Pinnock and Orlando Lopez.
Edwards, who is about 16 years old, was hit in the abdomen and had to be rushed to the Lionel Town Hospital for treatment, but was later transferred to the May Pen Hospital and was admitted. The other four boys, who range in age from 15 to 17, were treated and sent home.
In her own account of what took place, Dr. Henrietta Stewart, principal at Vere Technical, said that about 12:02 p.m., a guidance counsellor and another member of staff rushed to her office and told her they had heard an explosion and saw a male student being led by someone to the nurse’s station on the compound.
The principal said that when she arrived at the nurse’s station, she saw a student lying down and bleeding from a number of areas on his body. She said that when she asked what had happened she was told that the student and four others were hit by pellets from the security guard’s shotgun which had been discharged.
Dr. Stewart said she immediately asked someone to use her car to take the injured student to the hospital for treatment.