News

Bloody gun attack leaves two dead in Westmoreland

BY HORACE HINES Sunday Observer reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013    

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GENEVA, Westmoreland — Blood-curdling screams disturbed the still wee hours yesterday, as three masked gunmen ran amok leaving a mother and her nine-year-old son dead.

Another son of the deceased woman, Mike, aged 12, remains in hospital nursing gunshot injuries.

Those killed have been identified as hotel worker Kerisha Ricketts, 34, and her son Jase Francis, formerly of the New Town section of Geneva district, near Grange Hill in Westmoreland.

Ricketts' common-law husband, Oniel Francis and their two daughters, Nathalie, 13 and DeJae, 7, managed to escape physical harm.

According to a bewildered Oniel Francis, about 1:30 yesterday morning he was awakened by his spouse that a chicken coop beside the house was on fire.

The distraught Francis, who was a picture of grief, recalled that a gunshot rang out shortly after he put out the blaze with a bucket of water. He told the Jamaica Observer that he had to assist the mother of his children back inside the house after she was hit in the shoulder when the second shot was fired by the unknown shooters who attacked under the cover of darkness.

The injured woman begged her spouse to go and call her brother, who lives in close proximity, to transport her to hospital in the pick-up truck that he operates.

But upon reaching halfway up the road to call Ricketts' brother, Francis said that he was jolted by a volley of shots coming from his house.

He spun around and while running back towards his house, he saw three masked men running away from the house.

"By the time me come out the house and reach up there so, a pure gunshot. Me have to turn back. When me turn back, a inna a gunshot me turn back. And when me look a three boy me see a run down so. Just like that!" he said.

He returned to the house where he was met with a bloody scene. Two of his sons and their mother were lying on the floor with blood all over their bullet-riddled bodies; while his two daughters were found trembling with fear under a bed where they ran for rescue.

The three injured members of the family were taken to hospital where Jase and his mother were pronounced dead and Mike admitted in stable condition.

The incident has left residents in the community cowering with fear.

"From I was two years old I have been living here and now I am 42 and this has been the first incident like this here. Me never know something like this would strike his community and this family," bemoaned the dead hotel worker's older sister, Angella Ricketts. "All now we don't know where to start unravelling the puzzle."

Meanwhile, Michael Brown a friend of the bereaved family also expressed fear.

"Yes, me must feel fearful. We need some really, really serious adjustment to this crime situation. We need some more serious measures and more serious rules. This thing can't go on so. Everybody a live in fear," Brown lamented. "Right now the Government a pressure car more than they pressuring crime in the country. The citizens live in fear. Nobody naw live happy... everybody a live

in fear."

Meanwhile, up to late yesterday evening, the Westmoreland police were working feverishly to establish a lead in the deadly attack.

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