Mom rues not warning slain daughter

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Mom rues not warning slain daughter

Weeping and wailing in Kitson Town after gunmen kill 4, injure 5

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Pauline Smith's heart is heavy.

She believes that if she had related a disturbing dream she had a week ago to her daughter, 42-year-old Patricia King, she would likely have made King more aware of her mortality.

King was one of four people shot dead by gunmen in Dover, Kitson Town, St Catherine late Tuesday night, in a brutal assault that left five others injured.

“Mi shoulda warn her like how mi did warn di rest of them (her other children). Mi shoulda did warn her,” Smith cried as she sat on a step in front of the bar where the second of her eight children was slaughtered.

The mother, who was at a church meeting when she was informed that her child was shot, said she knew immediately that King was dead.

“…To tell the truth, I know that somebody in my family was going to die because I dream it last week, and mi tell mi other children dem somebody in the family is going to die because when yuh dream see yuh mouth close and cyaan open to enable you to talk, somebody in the family is going to die. All the while mi dream dreams, and most of the times it happened,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“Another thing why mi confirm it to say it was going to happen too, my foot bottom continued to scratch mi and every morning a cock (rooster) come on my roof top, him come any time after 6:00 to 6:30 am and he has been coming there for two weeks now,” she said, adding that she had not spoken to King in a while.

King, along with 38-year-old haulage contractor Marcus Whyte; 67-year-old truck driver Gladstone Grange, otherwise known as “Bigga”; and 46-year-old Dennis “Ninja” Price were slain by the gunmen who invaded the peaceful farming community in the St Catherine Northern constituency and sprayed a crowd of people, some of whom were playing dominoes and other games, at two adjacent bars in an area called Crossing.

When the mayhem was over, residents found that eight people had been shot. They were taken to hospital where King, Grange, Price and Whyte were pronounced dead, while the others were treated.

As the morning wore on, the night's harrowing experience seemed to hit residents and relatives of the victims.

“Mi cyaan believe seh mi father dead,” Dennis Price Junior cried, clutching to a foot of slippers he ran out of in a quest to save his life.

Price, 23, told the Observer that he was standing in front of King when he heard gunshots across the road and took cover.

“Mi stand up over here so, in front of a woman weh name Lidy (Patricia King), and she dead. Di man dem did a shoot up over de so and dem run through de so and start fire shot in a dah bar yah, suh mi haffi get flat. A flat mi get and di woman get shot. If mi never did get flat, mi dead lef' mi mother and mi pickney dem,” he said, crying before revisiting the scene where his father was killed.

“Mi just run, mi hear di shot dem a beat afta mi. A way up inna one bush up so mi run go hide, enuh,” he said as tears streamed down his face.

“A tru yuh not even know, star,” he said, hissing his teeth.

“Mi nuh know a wah gwan, fi know say di man dem slap weh mi fada. A one fada, enuh, a him alone tek care a wi. Nobody else nah help wi a him alone. Him just get him yute the other day weh a nine months. A one fada dat, enuh dawg,” he continued.

Disclosing that his father was shot in the neck, Price said he, too, was injured but had not gone to hospital after he realised that his father, with whom he had just shared a ganja cigarette, was dead.

“Mi go deh and a draw him foot and him nah wake enuh man. Dead him dead, ennu,” Price said as more tears flowed.

At the same time, he told the Observer that a Zone of Special Operation is needed in the community.

“Too much things a gwan roun' yah so. Just wah day dem rob di Cash Pot place. Roun' yah so cyaan stay so, enuh; roun' yah so never used to stay so, enuh,” he lamented.

An eerie silence hung over the community while members of the joint force and police investigators spoke among themselves. Soon after, the silence was interrupted by the prolonged, high-pitched cries of residents and relatives of the deceased.

Nallisa Nelson who sat on a chair beside Whyte's mother, who was unable to speak with the Observer said she was at her home in the district when she was told that he was killed.

Noting that he was the breadwinner for his family, she said he would have gone to work at a furniture store in downtown Kingston yesterday morning if he had survived the brutal attack.

Stressing that Whyte was a jovial, family-oriented man, Smith emphasised that her cousin, who refers to her as aunty, was not a troublemaker.

Efforts to contact Grange's wife were futile. The Observer was eventually told that she had left the district.

While a motive for the mass shooting was not determined up to press time, the Observer learnt that last Friday, 46-year-old Fredrick Thompson, otherwise called “Macka”, was killed in Kitson Town.

The constabulary's Corporate Communications Unit reported that approximately 8:27 pm residents heard explosions and summoned the police. When the cops arrived in the community, Thompson was found with multiple shot wounds. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Observer was told that Thompson hails from a community in the St Andrew South police division.

Yesterday, Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang said that the Dover attack stemmed from a gang-related dispute.

Chang, who was speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House, said that the dispute originated from the Corporate Area.

Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Area Five, Gary Griffiths, told the Observer that a state of emergency is in effect in St Catherine.

Noting that the anti-crime measure has been effective in the parish, ACP Griffiths said the joint force cannot be at all points in the communities.

“Once there are opportunities to commit crime, people will capitalise on them. It is really unfortunate that this incident took place last night,” Griffiths said, adding that the security forces will now have to revisit their deployment strategy within the state of public emergency.

Insisting that the murder committed last Friday was isolated, Griffiths said the increase in criminal activities in the area is shocking.

Noting that the joint force were focusing more on the problematic spaces within Spanish Town and its environs, the ACP said: “The concentration of military personnel was not at that level in the space.”

Griffiths and his team are looking at a number of theories that may have led to Tuesday night's shooting, which, they believe, is related to the one last Friday.


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