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Motorist shot dead in brazen attack along HWT Road

BY COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter robinsonc@jamaicaobserver.com
Monday, April 08, 2013

A forty-four-year-old businessman is dead and a security guard hospitalised after gunmen struck in a brazen early morning incident on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew, yesterday.

Police said Wayne James, an assistant manager at Red Hills Pharmacy, was driving on the usually busy thoroughfare about 6:25 am when two gunmen rode up on a motorcycle and fired shots into his vehicle.

Police said James was shot in the left side of his upper back and lost control of the vehicle, which ran off the road and mowed down the security guard before crashing into a lightpole, bus stop and lawn outside the Victoria Mutual Building Society.

The injured James, who onlookers said tried to pull himself from the crashed vehicle, later died on the spot. The security guard was taken to hospital by police officers. He was admitted in stable condition.

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Yesterday, vendors who had been setting up their stalls at the time of the attack, spoke about the incident in obvious disbelief. They claimed James was still alive minutes after the incident.

“I didn’t even hear the gunshot dem,” said one of four men at a stall near to where James’ pickup truck crashed. “I just hear the loud crash and run come roun’ here thinking is a accident.”

Instead, the man said, he was met with a sight he will never forget.

“When I go over there I saw him [James] on the ground and his mouth was full of blood. The other [injured] man was also on the ground too,” said the man. “Little after that more people start run come down; some seh we fi teck him [James] up and carry him to hospital and some a seh wi fi leave him alone. At one point everybody step back and it was just him alone lying there in the vehicle,” said the man.

“Maybe if we did carry him go hospital him maybe woulda survive,” said the man, obviously still shocked from his experience. Police later arrived on the scene, he said.

James’ death angered residents of a section of Red Hills Road, where he was regarded as a “decent youth”.

“Everybody cut up ‘bout it. Is Calabar him used to go, I grew up wid him,” said one male resident. “Is a good man them kill. Him father own the pharmacy and him [James] help him run it; him don’t mix up in any foolishness. Them kill me friend fi nutten.”

According to the man, James had left home to deposit a sum of money at a Scotia Bank ATM, near to where he was attacked. After depositing the money and driving off, the gunmen trailed and shot him.

Yesterday, police said James had approximately $37,000, jewellery and his cellular phone in his possession when he died. Nonetheless, investigators theorised that robbery may have been the motive for his killing.

The police said the money and the items were later turned over to James’ relatives who turned up on the scene.

Motorist heading to downtown Kingston from Half-Way-Tree were asked to detour by police officers who cordoned off the roadway in the vicinity of Half-Way-Tree clock tower. Vendors said the downed utility pole also resulted in power outages in some sections of the community.

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