A businessman and a gunman killed each other during a shootout on Saxthorpe Avenue in St Andrew yesterday.
The businessman has been identified as 48-year-old Winston Josephs of a St Ann address. The gunman was not identified by police up to press time last night.
Police report that Josephs was attacked by the gunman minutes after 6:00 am as he used his cellular phone. The robber rode up on a bicycle, with pistol in hand, and attempted to relieve Josephs of the phone, but was surprised as the businessman challenged him.
The gunman managed to get the first shot off, which hit Josephs in the left side of his chest and attempted to ride away. However, Josephs let off a volley of five bullets and all hit their target — sending the gunman crashing to the asphalt in a crumpled heap with the bicycle on top of him.
A police team, which was strategically placed in the area to provide security for early morning joggers, businesspeople and children, were quick on the scene and recovered Josephs' licensed firearm and an illegal 9mm Browning pistol, which the gunman was clutching.
The gunman was identified by at least four persons as the man who held them up at gunpoint and relieved them of their cellular phones and other valuables.
Police suspect the gunman as the perpetrator of several robberies in the Constant Spring Gardens, Charlton, Whitehall Gardens, Saxthorpe Avenue and Mannings Hill Road.
"We have been getting several reports about a gunman who rides a bicycle and has been holding up people going about their legitimate business. We set up to nab him, but it seems his time has come this morning. It is only unfortunate that a decent citizen had to die along with him," one policeman told the Jamaica Observer.
The passersby, who said they were robbed, furnished the police with their numbers and when they were called they rang in the dead man's pockets.
Police then removed at least four cellular phones, including an iPhone and a BlackBerry, from his body.
Several persons, who were among a crowd of onlookers, expressed relief that the gunman was cut down.
"Long time this boy fi dead. Him don't come from around here and him rob people every day. Him rob schoolchildren, helpers and him do it early in the morning and at evening time. Him rob people in broad daylight to. Mi glad him dead," one woman said.
"I only sorry that the him carry the man with him. This boy too wicked. You can rob a little helper? Dem poor people who earn minimum wage? Him shoulda dead in childbirth," another man said.
As personnel from the Major Investigation Task Force processed the crime scene one woman — apparently related to the gunman — arrived on the scene and began to holler. However, after a few curious and even angry stares from the crowd, she beat a hasty retreat.
The incident caused a major traffic pile-up as the area was cordoned off and peak hour morning traffic had to be diverted from the usually busy Mannings Hill Road.