'Don' cut down by gunmen

Three others injured in daring daylight attack

BY KARYL WALKER Editor, Crime/Court Desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 31, 2014

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TASHOY Lawrence had only a few weeks ago cheated death when he escaped from a burning car that had overturned as he made his way to a funeral.

He was not so lucky yesterday.

As he sat in his wheelchair at Texton Road in Kingston, surrounded by his friends, at minutes after three in the afternoon, a car drove up, men alighted and started shooting in their direction.

Lawrence was hit several times, along with three other men.

Persons who claimed to be eyewitnesses said Lawrence, 42, did not die instantly and tried to crawl to safety.

But his attackers were intent on taking his life. They walked up to him and pumped several more bullets into his body before escaping.

He died on the spot, while the other three men were taken to hospital.

At least one man was listed as being in serious condition as he was reportedly shot in the stomach.

Lawrence, described as a 'don' by stony-faced onlookers who stood behind police yellow tape, is reputed to be a top enforcer in the notorious Rat Bat gang and yesterday police investigators were not sure if he was the victim of an internal gang feud.

One thing was clear at the crime scene however, he held the respect of those in his community.

"Dem kill the don. Done him. Never to return," one woman said as she took a long drag on a cigarette.

"Him just crash the other day and hurt him foot. Him was in the wheelchair when the man dem move to him. The don dead," another woman said.

Others in the crowd just looked on as Crime Scene investigators processed the scene.

Police markers indicated that more than 20 shots were fired during the brazen daylight attack.

The fearsome Rat Bat gang has its bases in the police divisions of St Andrew South and Kingston West and is infamous for its vicious handling of enemies or members who have run afoul of the criminal outfit's unwritten code.

Despite various strategies employed by police in both divisions, the gang continues to thrive due to the wide expanse of its territory and a large network of hardened criminals.

Apart from Texton Road and the adjoining Gem Road, the gang has turf control of the St Joseph's and Crescent roads communities which run off Spanish Town Road, along with an area close to Greenwich Town known as 'Boat Island' among other areas off Maxfield Avenue.

Residents in the area now fear that Lawrence's murder and the injury of the other men may trigger a new round of violence in a community that has been relatively quiet in recent years.

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