The killings occurred in the communities of Grants Pen and Sunrise Crescent, off Red Hills Road, driving fear into residents and causing police to beef up security in the two ‘hotspot’ areas.
“The activities that we have been seeing in these two communities are between two rival gangs. It has nothing to do with the residents or persons traversing in and around the communities,” Deputy Superintendent of Police George McFarlane told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
In the most recent case, around 12:30 pm in the vicinity of Sunrise Crescent yesterday, gunmen ambushed 32-year-old Ava-Gaye Ward and sprayed her with bullets even as she ran for her life.
Ward, a higgler, was shot in the back, hip, abdomen, and right palm. Police suspect that her attackers were avenging the July 5 murders of Denver Pink, 38, and Latisha Rich, 23, who were both cut down at premises in the same community.
Investigators from the Major Investigation Taskforce said four 9mm spent shells and one live round were taken from the scene.
Ward’s killing followed that of Paul Jackson, 49, who was also chased and shot, allegedly by a lone gunmen as Jackson attempted to flee onto premises on Grants Pen Avenue, not far from Sunrise Crescent. That attack took place about 10:00 am.
Detectives believe that incident may have been linked to the death of 26-year-old Dwain Rodman who, along with three other men were shot at a nearby bar about 10:45 Friday night. They said gunmen travelling in a Silver Toyota motorcar alighted from the vehicle, entered the premises and fired.
The three other victims, which included a 17-year-old, are said to be in serious condition at hospital.
The chain of events has again placed the St Andrew North Police division — which is littered with criminal ‘hotspots’ — in the spotlight. A curfew has since been imposed in the Grants Pen community as police compile a list of persons of interest and police operations have also been bolstered in the Sunrise Crescent Area, McFarlane said.
“These are gang members who are killing each other and who are shooting at each other; it has nothing to do with the residents themselves. So we just want to reassure persons that we will do everything possible to deal with these gang members,” he said, noting that heavy police presence in the area should bring some reassurance that the police are “on top of things, and that we will deal with it accordingly”.
According to McFarlane: “The (Grants Pen) murders are the product of a long-standing dispute between two gangs — Top Gully and Bottom Gully — and it was triggered by the murder of one Jermaine Gibson, otherwise called Jerry Springer,” he said. “He was an influential member of the Top Gully gang. He was killed in Castle Heights and as a result of his killing there has been a number of shootings,” he said.
Last night, a senior officer who once headed the St Andrew North division was critical of how the area is being policed in recent times.
“I am convinced that it can be policed better. You see, hotspot policing takes a lot of concentration and it takes dedicated policing,” said the officer. “Certain place police have to park and can’t move or else them lose all them work. If you don’t occupy the spaces where criminals occupy then you must expect that they are going to come and give you trouble.”
In relation to the Sunrise Crescent incidents, the officer said the attacks were being ordered by a well-known don in that area, who is bent on eliminating any threats to his reign.
“Anybody who he feels is an informer or a threat to him he will send someone to kill them; it could even be your relative,” the cop said, adding that the don recently left the island and is ordering the killings from overseas.
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