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Registered midwife gunned down near St Mary home

BY RENAE DIXON Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 18, 2013    

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OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Days after gunmen stormed into the May Pen Hospital and killed a patient, the health sector is again reeling from shock after a nurse was murdered on her way home from work on Wednesday night.

Registered midwife Shellion Pinnock Lafayette, who worked at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary, was shot and killed while driving her Toyota Starlet motor car home. She was killed just metres from her Farmers Heights home in Port Maria.

According to the police, Lafayette was shot at about 10:30 pm. Residents reportedly heard an explosion and summoned the police who found Lafayette in her car suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken to the Port Maria Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The 30-year-old mother of two — a daughter aged seven and a 12-year-old son — was reportedly shot in the neck.

Her uncontrolled car then ran into a ditch, the Jamaica Observer was told.

Family members of the midwife — who was said to be fairly new to the profession after just completing her studies at the Cornwall School of Nursing last year — were still in shock yesterday.

She previously worked as a vector control inspector at the Port Maria Hospital.

Lafayette's sister told Jamaica Observer that she spoke with her sister at about 1:00 pm on Wednesday.

"She tell mi that when I am coming to visit for the weekend mi should let mommy boil some porridge and bring it for her," Sharlett Pinnock recalled.

She said when she got a phone call Wednesday night that her sister was killed, she was in instant denial.

"I didn't want to believe," Pinnock told the Observer. "I was just hoping she was in the hospital."

"The condition I saw my sister in last night, she did not deserve it," Pinnock added.

She said Lafayette's children and her mother were beside themselves with grief. She said the news was so painful for her son that he had not shed a tear up until yesterday.

She said her sister had taken her regular route home, which made it even more difficult for her to understand why someone would have killed her along the way.

Even more puzzling for Pinnock was that nothing was taken from the car, which ruled out robbery as a motive.

Meanwhile, residents told the Observer yesterday that they saw two men, dressed in black, running away from the scene after the explosions.

They said the poor condition of the road to the area may have aided the gunmen to carry out the heinous act as it would have forced Lafayette to cut her speed.

"The road yah waan fix enuh. And no light! Hospital nuh fi dark so," one woman was heard saying at the Port Maria Hospital, which is in close proximity to where the nurse was killed.

Staff at the hospital protested yesterday morning over the poor road conditions and lack of streetlights in the area.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Fenton Ferguson met with hospital staff at the Port Maria and Annotto Bay hospitals and called on people with information about Lafayette's murder to pass it on to the police.

Meanwhile, the killing was condemned by the Jamaica Midwives Association.

"Midwives face challenges as they travel to and from work to give care to their patients. However, the association mourns but remains astute as they endorse their pledge to support families," the association said in a statement to the media yesterday.

Lafayette's murder was the second to have happened in as many days in the parish. On Wednesday afternoon, the driver of a delivery truck driver was shot and killed along the Kensington main road.

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