Ex-cop 'destined' to die

Ex-cop 'destined' to die

Visiting son of Observer NY correspondent killed after leaving Sabina Park New Year's Eve party

Executive Editor – special assignment

Sunday, January 05, 2020

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Ex-detective corporal of police Rickie Bailey, who would have turned 54 tomorrow, was gunned down near dawn on New Year's Day, in what relatives believe could be “destiny”.

Bailey, known as a cop who took the fight to gunmen, left Jamaica 18 years ago for Canada after learning that he was marked for death, said his father Harold Bailey, the New York correspondent for the Jamaica Observer.

Police investigating gunshots in the vicinity of the Sabina Park cricket stadium in east Kingston, found the ex-cop suffering from multiple gunshot wounds about 5:00 am on Melbourne Road. He was pronounced dead at hospital, the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) confirmed.

Bailey was leaving the Black and White party he was said to have attended yearly on his visit home from Alberta, Canada where he has lived for the past 10 years. He was not robbed of his valuables or his car. His was likely the first murder for 2020.

“The family was very concerned about his safety when intelligence emerged that a hit had been taken out on him. We encouraged him to leave the island and he chose Canada where he got married and settled down,” said the elder Bailey.

“Some of us believe that it was his destiny. It just seems that was the way he was fated to go. People don't escape their destiny,” added Bailey, unable to mask his pain and distress over losing the eldest of three sons.

The CCU said cops took in one fake gun and two legal firearms from the Sabina Park party after a patrol heard what sounded like gun salute celebrating the New Year. They did not immediately connect it to the shooting of Bailey.

In another twist of fate, Correspondent Bailey received the shocking news of his son's death as he was writing the last paragraph of a story that Jamaicans in the Diaspora had expressed grave concerns about the high murder rate above 1,300 in their homeland in 2019.

The news story, which was carried in last Friday's edition of this newspaper, titled 'J'cans overseas offer to join fight against crime', said the high murder rate was “forcing many Jamaicans abroad to either rethink or put off plans to return home to invest and help build the country”.

“We are ready to help. We have the expertise in several areas and we also have access to resources including finance and equipment,” former Jamaica Defence Force captain, Dr Rupert Francis, head of the Jamaica Diaspora on Crime Intervention and Prevention Task Force, was quoted as saying.

Dr Francis lamented that the Diaspora had been extending its offer to help with crime-fighting in Jamaica for the past five years, but was yet to see the type of collaboration he believed was needed on the issue.

He listed three prominent Jamaicans Andrew Smalling, former chief of police for the city of Lauderhill, Florida, now running for sheriff of Broward County; retired Captain Peter Whittingham, former head of the Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); and Devon Clunis, retired chief of police for the city of Winnipeg, Canada, as people with vast experience in police and security measures “who are on board to provide their services”.

Meanwhile, mother of the slain ex-cop, Iris Thompson said: “The untimely death of my son Rickie has shattered my entire world. Not only was he my son, Rickie was my best friend, he was like a husband. He had been taking care of certain aspects of my financial needs.

“I am just heartbroken, depressed and finding it hard to eat or sleep. I am going to miss his laughs and support,” a devastated Thompson told the Sunday Observer.

Dad Harold Bailey said it would take a long time to get over his son's killing.

“Rickie's murder has blown a huge hole through my body. Every time I realise that I will not be able to talk to him again, or sit with him and have drink, to listen to his infectious laughter, that hole grows larger.

“He was one of the great conversationists of his time and his sense of humour was unmatched among his peers. This is like a nightmare,” Bailey bemoaned.

Retired Detective Corporal Rickie Bailey was born on January 6, 1967 in Berrydale, Portland, but grew up in Mt Regale, St Mary where he attended primary school before going on to Richmond Secondary, now Richmond Technical High School.

He served the police force for several years, including at the Hunt's Bay Police Station, before migrating in 2001. He lived in Toronto, Canada for a short time then moved to Calgary where he was living up to the time of his death.

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