KINGSTON, Jamaica – Despite the deploying of military personnel in the 142 hot spots across the country, the bloodletting continued Tuesday, with the murder toll reaching a staggering 1,442 homicides. The 12 latest victims were killed between Monday night and yesterday, 47 over the past seven days.
A majority of the killings Tuesday occurred in Clarendon, where more than 113 persons have been killed since the start of the year.
“Seven persons were killed in Clarendon between Monday night and yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Five died in Water Lane and one each in Chapelton and Frankfield,” said a senior police officer who spoke with The Gleaner yesterday.
The officer stressed that the surrounding community of Water Lane in Ashley district, Clarendon, is now gripped by fear. Residents are moving out in droves. Some, with nowhere to go, have nonetheless packed their bags and are ready to run, following the killings.
Those killed in that incident are Lerline Lewis, 41; her 21-year-old son, Shamar Davis; 48-year-old Delroy Riley; Deloris Green, 32, and 40-year-old Daniel Parkinson, all of Water Lane addresses. It was an emotional scene yesterday as relatives and friends wept openly.
A teenage girl who resides at the premises was abducted and raped.
Head of the Clarendon police, Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, yesterday, said a gang feud in the community led to the demise of the five people.
“Shamar Davis was a member of the ‘Gang of Nine’, whose leader is now in jail for illegal gun and ammunition charges. A man was killed in the area on Sunday and Davis is said to have witnessed the incident,” said Superintendent Lewis.
The senior cop warned that “no police, no army, no government can solve murder like this one because it is cronies killings cronies and we know that it is almost like dogs eating dogs”.
The police theorise that the killers went for Davis and Lewis, Riley, Parkinson and Green, were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Several residents of the community who converged on the scene said they heard explosions around 12:30 Tuesday morning and eventually realised their worst fears.
“Mi bredda did fi go wey December 12 to St. Maarten and is yesterday him come to rough cast the house that he is building, but he will never live in it”, remarked Kirk Parkinson, Daniel’s younger brother.
Several other persons expressed sadness. According to them, it is the first time that a crime of such magnitude has touched the quiet cane farming community. Most say they are now living in fear.
Several pointed out however, that the Gang of Nine has been active in the community for the past two months. This was endorsed by the Clarendon Police who say they will step up their presence in the area in order to ease the fear of the residents.
Other police reports are that two persons were killed in Allman Town, Central Kingston, while one of three persons who were shot and injured in a Jamaica Labour Party motorcade in St. Thomas on Monday, succumbed to his injuries yesterday.
The deployment of Jamaica Defence Force soldiers alongside the police is one of the short-term strategies the Government has implemented to rein in the runaway crime rate that has claimed more than 350 lives since September. Yesterday hundreds of inner-city residents woke up to see joint police/military foot patrols in their communities.