Manchester community in shock after mechanic shot dead

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter

Saturday, December 22, 2012

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A community is in shock, and the mother of a 22-year-old mechanic shot dead during a confrontation with police at deCarteret Gardens yesterday morning is demanding justice for her son.

The dead man has been identified as Laurent Steve Lawrence of Hatfield.

A police corporal and a man alleged to be an associate of the deceased were also hospitalised with gunshot wounds.

The injured policeman, whose condition "is not considered to be serious", was named by the Manchester police as Corporal Clayton Brown, while Lawrence's alleged associate has been identified as Wayne Campbell, otherwise called 'Little Bear'.

A statement from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Director of Communication Karl Angell yesterday said a third man allegedly involved in the incident was in police custody.

Angell said the matter has been reported to the Independent Commission of Investigations.

Yesterday, a woman who identified herself as the mother of the deceased told the Jamaica Observer that while she was unclear as to how or why her son was killed, she wanted justice to be done.

"I don't know what went down or what went wrong. I want justice. I know that he is not a gunman. I know he is not a thief. He is never in trouble with the law," she said, noting that she saw her son alive for the last time on Thursday morning.

The Manchester police told the Observer that the "confrontation" between gunmen and police took place at about 3:00 am during a party at a house, which has college students among its occupants. A handgun was reportedly taken from the scene of the shooting.

The Manchester police say Corporal Brown suffered injuries to his leg and arm.

When the Observer visited the scene early Friday there was obvious fear and reluctance, on the part of some, to discuss the incident.

However, one young woman who claimed to have been at the party told the Observer that the barrage of shots reminded her of a movie. She claimed that after the shooting the police demanded that cellphone owners delete any pictures or footage of the shooting incident.

"The policeman that got shot, I was partying with him," the woman said. "The young man that died (Steve), he is a friend of mine, because he use to live at the house. He just moved. Steve didn't like the policeman. He was saying something a go guh down tonight between him and the police dem. Brown go outside and get mi a drink, bring it to mi and go back outside. Steve come out and everything. (After that) mi jus hear pure gunshot like a one show. All mi coulda duh is run guh upstairs. Mi... go back downstairs. Mi hear seh the guy weh dead — Steve — him went on the bike to ride off and that's where he got the shot."

The young woman claimed she was further traumatised after police demanded that they delete pictures and video footage of the incident.

"I was in the living room sitting down traumatised and everything, then some policemen came in. They locked the door and asked all of us to take out our phones. They wanted us to clean our videos if there were videos. They wanted us to clean our pictures if there were pictures. They just went through everything in our phones just to make sure nothing was remaining of the incident that happened," she said.




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