MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The local business community has responded with shock and sadness at news of the shooting death of businessman Alphonso Joseph, 48, at his McKinley Drive home late Thursday.
President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Wendy Freckleton urged the police high command in Manchester to conduct "the most thorough investigations to bring the criminals to justice".
Against the backdrop of a perception of rising crime in Manchester and the wider south central Jamaica in recent weeks, Freckleton told the Jamaica Observer that her organisation was "asking for more vigilance (from the police) throughout Manchester".
She said that citizens, including the business community "were very concerned about their safety and were increasingly taking the necessary steps to protect themselves".
The police said that Joseph, who operated a loan facility on Brumalia Road, was at home around 8:30 pm, when men entered the premises and demanded money.
When their demands were not met, one man allegedly pulled a gun and fired, hitting Joseph. He was pronounced dead at hospital. Police reports said that the men left the scene in a white car.
Visitors to the home at McKinley Road provided the Sunday Observer with more detail.
They said that Joseph was not Jamaican by birth, but arrived in the country seven to nine years ago from England.
Efforts by the Sunday Observer failed to confirm Joseph's birthplace.
Those at the scene said it was either "Guyana or Antigua", but enquiries to the Jamaica Observer newsroom Friday came from Antigua from persons claiming to be relatives of the deceased.
Joseph's widow was too grief stricken to speak to the media.
Reports said that Joseph was sitting in his dining room listening to music when two masked gunmen used a ladder to enter the house through a window upstairs.
His wife, who was in the bedroom, reportedly heard someone say "Wey di money deh?"
She then heard a tussle and heard her husband shout for her to "call the police". She then heard gunshots.
The gunmen, according to the reports, also demanded of Mrs Joseph "Wey di money deh?"
She told them that she did not have any and that they could search the premises.
They left without finding any money or hurting her.
Reports said that an attempt was also made to rob Joseph outside his home about a year ago but he fought off the would-be robbers.
He reportedly lived with his wife, his stepson and tenants at the McKinley Drive house.
Head of the Police Area Three, Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Knight, urged the public to "be careful and mindful" of their surroundings.
"We are saying it is very important that persons be aware of their environment and to call the police at any sign of suspicious activity," Knight said.