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'Hospital patient shot by police was a good man'

Savannah residents challenge police version of Mandeville incident

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014    

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RESIDENTS of Savannah in Hayes, Clarendon are challenging the police's version of events which led to the fatal shooting of Donovan Stewart in the Mandeville hospital on Tuesday morning.

Police reported that Stewart attacked a patient and was in the process of strangling him when a nurse and another patient rushed to help.

Stewart, police said, kicked the nurse and injured her before an officer who was guarding a prisoner on the ward rushed to the area where the commotion was unfolding and attempted to subdue Stewart.

However, the policeman was reportedly forced to open fire after Stewart attacked him with a Steinmann pin which he allegedly removed from his broken leg and attempted to use it to stab another patient, who had come to help.

The police said Stewart was shot in his leg by the policeman but became more infuriated and attempted to attack the lawman again before he was cut down.

However, residents of Savannah, including Stewart's cousin Novlette Anderson, said he was not a violent man and had never had any history of mental illness.

The residents yesterday blocked a section of the Hayes main road to protest against the fatal shooting.

"Is wicked the police wicked. Him crash off him bike and him foot broke in three places. Him was never in any condition to walk much less fight anybody," Anderson said.

They also argue that no pin was inserted in Stewart's broken leg.

"Them never do any surgery on him yet. Him crash off the bike, we take him to Lionel Town Hospital but him had to be transferred to Mandeville because that is where the bone specialist is. He needed $60,000 to do the surgery and it never do yet , so how them say him take out pin out of him foot?" one angry resident asked.

The dead man's brother, Gerald Stewart, said his cousin had carried $30,000 to Stewart to assist him in paying the cost of the surgery and his brother had given the money to a nurse.

"My cousin carry the $30,000 and give him and him call somebody and tell them that him give a nurse. All we asking about the money we can't get no good answer. We don't even know what happen to him phone. Something is not right. My brother was not a violent man and him name never go in a police book at the station yet," he said.

The mood in Savannah was bitter as residents all condemned the act and blamed the policeman responsible for Stewart's demise as being cruel and trigger happy.

"Imagine, a hospital is a place of safety and you shoot a man inside the hospital with a broken foot? That could happen to anyone of us. The man was in no condition to fight anyone. We do not believe the report that the police put out. This is not justice," one woman said.

Stewart's death has left an 18-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl fatherless.

The matter is being investigated by the Independent Commission of Investigations.

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