Friday 19 July, 2019

While SOE cooling St James, murders still high around it

Since the declaration of a state of emergency in St James in January, there has been a very significant reduction of serious crimes, especially murders, in that parish.

However, while the St James statistics remain low, the bloodletting in the neighbouring parishes of Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland has continued to be high.

As of August 12, the murder count in St James stood at 60 since the start of the year, which is 68 less than the 128 which were recorded over the corresponding period last year.

But the bordering and normally relatively peaceful parish of Trelawny registered all of four homicides last week, which catapulted the murder figures there to 18, four shy of the 22 which were recorded over the similar period last year.

The latest killing there was committed in the district of Bounty Hall, where a community member, 28-year-old unemployed, Lavante Cameron, also called ‘Vante’, was gunned down by unknown assailants on Saturday morning.

Reports are that sometime after 12:00 a.m., the police were summoned by community members after they heard gunshots in the area.

Upon their arrival, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) found Cameron's bullet-riddled body lying in a section of the community.

The police are yet to establish a motive for the killing.

File photos

However, they have nabbed two suspects in respect of last month's gun slaying of a farmer in the parish.

Twenty-year-old Ricardo Sturridge, also called ‘Tipa’, and 24-year-old Rushane Williams, otherwise called ‘Bun Up’ or ‘Shane’, both of Sawyers district in the parish, are to appear in the Trelawny Parish Court later this week. Both men have been charged with murder and illegal possession of firearm arising from the shooting death of 43-year-old Michael Smith of Cottage district in Sawyers.

Reports are that on Saturday, July 28, at about 12:30 p.m., explosions were heard coming from Smith's house.

The police were called and officers who responded found him suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Trelawny police have also taken into their custody a suspect in relation to the stabbing death of a Marcus Garvey High School student at a wake in the parish in the wee hours of Sunday, August 5.

The deceased has been identified as 18-year-old Raheem Allen of Calabar, Rio Bueno, Trelawny.

Reports are that at about 1:30 a.m., Allen was among persons at a shop in his community, where a wake was in progress, when a dispute developed between his younger brother and a group of men.

It is alleged that a member of the group brandished a long knife, which he used to inflict multiple stab wounds to the upper body of Allen, who intervened in the dispute on his brother's behalf.

Allen was taken to the Falmouth Hospital, where he died upon arrival.

Two suspects have since been taken into custody.

Traditionally, a significant per cent of the crimes that are committed in Trelawny arise from domestic disputes, which makes it difficult for the police to prevent these incidents, despite their best efforts.

Over in Hanover, police data revealed that 40 persons have been killed since the start of the year, in comparison to 45 over the same period last year, while some 86 murders have been recorded in Westmoreland so far this year, five less than the 91 which were recorded for the same period last year.

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