Thursday 13 December, 2018

Cop gives thanks after life 'saved by bulletproof vest'

Twenty-seven-year-old police constable Craig Kyle* is expressing gratitude for the upgraded ballistic vests provided to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) one of which saved his life during a police operation last July.

“I have to say that I am truly grateful to the Government for (these) provisions,” Constable Kyle tells JIS News.

The vests are of a different make and model than those previously used by members of the force, fitting closer and covering a larger portion of the upper body.

The one being worn by Kyle was able to effectively absorb the impact of a bullet, one of several fired at him, protecting him from serious injury and even death, during the police operation on July 22, 2017 to apprehend wanted Hanover man, Sadan Mullings.

Mullings, otherwise known as ‘Saddam’, was wanted for at least 15 murders in the western parishes of the island, including the reported murder of four people at a cookshop in Bath, Westmoreland, on March 18 last year.

Recounting the events leading up to the shooting, Constable Kyle recalls that he was on routine duties assigned to him by superiors early in the morning when a call came in that the wanted man was in the community of Petersfield in the parish.

“I was driving, and I had three other colleagues with me. We came up on a 1989 station wagon… . We turned on the siren and signalled to the driver to pull over. The vehicle began accelerating, and we pursued and continued to signal to the driver to stop,” he says.

Constable Kyle says he alerted his colleagues that the driver, identified as Sadan Mullings, was in possession of a firearm.

“By the time I shouted ‘gun’, shots just started to ring out. I could see a bright light coming from the muzzle of the gun and I heard the smashing of glass and I started to feel the impact from one of the bullets (as it hit the vest),” he says.

He tells JIS News that the bullet-riddled police vehicle grounded to a halt while Mullings sped off in the station wagon.

The police reported that they recovered an Uzi submachine gun and a Glock pistol from that incident.

Another fierce gun battle would ensue sometime after 8:00 a.m. that day, which eventually led to the fatal shooting of Mr. Mullings in the community of Whitehouse.

In a JIS News interview early last month, following the ceremony to break ground for a new police station in Port Maria, then National Security Minister, Robert Montague, said his Ministry had procured 4,500 ballistic vests and 3,500 ballistic helmets, which have all been distributed to members of the JCF.

“When I became Minister, the ballistic vests that the police officers used to wear were two years past their expiry date,” he noted.

Montague informed that he met with Constable Kyle, who had thanked him for the vests, “because if he had not been wearing (it) the shot he had received to his chest would have been fatal.”

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: