Thursday 19 July, 2018

A close-up look at the deadly Cassava Piece ‘Gully Side’ conflict

Mavado

Mavado

There was an upsurge of deadly violence in Cassava Piece, St Andrew after a gunman allegedly fired on dancehall entertainer, Mavado, in the community where the artiste has long been identified as the most dominant figure.

The flare-up came after Mavado reportedly got into a physical confrontation with a man in the community who had reportedly been involved in a dispute with the artiste's teenage son.

The top-flight entertainer, whose given name is David Brooks, reportedly had to beat a hasty retreat to his car in the face of the gun attack on Saturday, June 2, and his vehicle was said to have been shot up with him inside.

Surprisingly, Mavado escaped unscathed, but it was definitely not the same for the vehicle.

The Constabulary Communications Unit (CCU) confirmed the incident, and said a man was later taken into custody in relation to the shooting, following a formal report from Movado.

"The shooting happened yesterday (Saturday) at (about) 11:30 a.m. and Mavado made a report at Constant Spring Police Station, and a suspect was arrested," an officer confirmed.

Before the day ended, Ian Robinson, otherwise called 'Gaza Man', a Cassava Piece resident who was known to be a friend of Movado, was shot and killed. Robinson came under gun attack at the nearby Constant Spring Market at about 9:30 p.m.

Reports are that a white Nissan AD Wagon motorcar was driven up to the location, and a man jumped out of the back of the vehicle and opened fire.

‘Gaza Man’, who was hit, was taken to the Kingston Public Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

It is not established that the attack was connected to the then build-up of violence in Cassava Piece.

Three days after, on Tuesday, June 5, Lorenzo Thomas, otherwise called 'Chulups' and 'Israel', was killed by a group of armed men who invaded his Cassava Piece, St Andrew home.

Relatives of his said Thomas was told of a plot to kill him before the deadly attack took place, but he reportedly insisted that he was not leaving the community - despite being urged to do so.

According to reports from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate Communications Unit, Thomas, a 24-year-old labourer, was killed by men who kicked open the door to his home at about 3:30 a.m..

The men, who were said to have been armed with firearms, machetes and gasoline, shot Thomas a number of times before inflicting several chop wounds to his body, then set him ablaze.

Later that day, amid reports of additional shooting in the community, the police picked up five persons including Mavado's 16-year-old son and other relatives of the entertainer, for questioning in connection with the upsurge of violence in Cassava Piece.

The police also issued a statement on Tuesday, June 5, asking Mavado to report to the Constant Spring Police Station in St Andrew by midday the following day.

"The police believe that Mr Brooks can assist with an ongoing investigation," the statement said.

But Mavado, who is said to be a resident of the United States, had by then left the island.

His attorneys, Peter Champagnie and Tamika Harris, have since said that at the time the statement was issued, Mavada was overseas honouring previously contracted show engagements, and he was expected to be soon available to meet with the police in Jamaica.

The attorneys said the artiste was willing to meet with investigators, but he had to consider the legal implications of failing to honour his obligations overseas.

As a result, they requested that investigators come to an agreement with them on a date that the entertainer can make himself available to the police without jeopardising his overseas obligations.

Since then, amid a curfew being imposed on the Cassava Piece community, three of the men who were taken into custody were subsequently released, leaving Mavado's son and an adult still in the hands of the law.

Then on Friday, June 15, the 16-year-old son of Mavado was charged by detectives from the Criminal Investigation Branch's (CIB) Major Investigation Division (MID) with the June 5 murder of Thomas. The juvenile was charged with murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

The following day, the MID charged a second suspect in relation to the upsurge of violence in Cassava Piece, St Andrew.

Andre Hines, 23, has been charged jointly with Movado’s son for Thomas’ murder.

He has also been charged with conspiracy to murder, arson, shooting with intent, and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Amidst it all, the MID said Mavado, who has still not made himself available to the local police, is still being sought for questioning.

He is still overseas, but his attorneys are reportedly making arrangements for his return.

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