KINGSTON, Jamaica – It was billed as a late-night party at Kingston Harbour, but the boat never left the dock, as a barrage of bullets brought the session to its premature end.
When the gunfire ended, one man lay dead, just a few metres from the boat, two were nursing gunshot wounds and several others had minor injures after a mad rush for safety.
“The promoter charge $1,000, but that never stop people and the boat did too full fi move, so wi just party same place,” a patron told The Gleaner yesterday morning, a short while after 30-year-old Mario Mullings was fatally shot.
According to the patron, the fact that the boat was not going to cruise the harbour disappointed persons, but with two of the island’s major sound systems playing, the party continued on the vessel and the dock until shortly after 5 a.m., when a dispute developed.
“It look like a man and him girl have an argument. Mario get involved and the woman start to disrespect him. Next thing me know, me see Mario with a knife. A nuff shot start fire. Me just run behind the boat and dive pon me belly,” said the patron.
This story is close to the initial report from police investigators who told The Gleaner that, following a dispute, Mullings, who allegedly had a knife, was fatally shot.
Two other men were shot, but their injuries are not considered life threatening.
In near-by Pink Lane, west Kingston, where Mullings lived, angry residents pointed The Gleaner to a poster advertising the all-white boat ride before they tore it down.
“Is some bleach-out-face boy shoot the man in him back,” one distraught resident said, as she called for revenge.
“We know where dem (the gunmen) come from and nobody can’t tell we ’bout peace after them kill the innocent youth,” the resident added.
Mullings was a member of the popular High Rollers Crew from Denham Town, known to frequent dances and parties.
The sister of the deceased fought to hold back tears as she mourned. Mullings’ death has left behind five children, the oldest being seven years old.
“Him work a wharf and everybody love him,” the sister told The Gleaner.
Back at the crime scene, the owner of one of the sound systems, which played at the party, expressed regret at the tragedy.
He said it could have been avoided if promoters had continued his practice of searching persons and preventing those with weapons from boarding the boat.
The sound-system owner was slated to host the 12th anniversary of his first boat party on March 29, but has now shelved the idea.
“No more boat ride can’t keep – at least not for now,” said the sound-system owner, who asked not to be named.
Up to late yesterday, detectives were still trying to track down persons who had been on the boat.