SHREWSBURY, Westmoreland — The Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM) was up late last evening probing the controversial police shooting death of three members of this community -- a fireman, his brother and their cousin.
The deceased, all residents of the Shrewsbury Housing Scheme in Petersfield, have been identified as 28-year-old firefighter Andrew Brydson, his brother Triston Brydson, 24, and their cousin, 38-year-old Kingsley Green, said to have been a chef.
According to INDECOM, the police alleged that the men were killed during a firefight, however, residents have disputed the claim.
Assistant Commissioner Devon Watkis, head of the Police Area One, told the Jamaica Observer that two firearms were recovered by the police. He said the police went into the community after receiving intelligence that men, armed with firearms, were in the area.
Residents of Shrewsbury, however, gave a completely different story.
According to the residents, shortly after 12:00 noon the three men, who had taken a break from the construction of a restaurant they intended to operate in the community, went to a nearby shop to purchase drinks.
Shortly after alighting from the fireman's red Honda Integra motor car outside the shop, the residents said, the men were shot by the police.
A young woman who was said to be near to the shop where the incident took place reportedly fainted and had to be rushed to hospital.
Yesterday, the mother of Triston's one-year-old child, Rushean Powell, said she spoke with him on his cellphone just moments before his death.
"I was on the phone talking to Triston about 12:05 pm and then I did not hear anything more from him. Then I got a call one minute after to say that they shot him," said the woman.
"I did not hear any gunshots, but eventually the phone went out and I don't hear anything further until after someone call me and say my babyfather is dead. The last thing he said is, 'I hope BJ (the child) aright'."
Residents who had gathered outside the shooting scene accused the police of cold-blooded murder as they stood beyond the yellow tape looking at blood that remained on the ground.
They said the fireman, who was stationed at the Negril Fire Department, and his brother, had moved to the community recently from Lacovia in St Elizabeth after their mother bought a house in the housing scheme.
At the same time, Rev Vincent Cole of the Church of God Mountain Assembly, who said he administered the funeral service of the father of the two slain brothers two weeks ago, described them as members of his flock.
"I don't know them as any wrongdoers. They always attend church, but you know as young people some of the time they don't always come to church 100 per cent. Andrew (the fireman) used to play the keyboard at church. It (the shooting death) has left us on a very sad note. We are all shaken up... I don't know [why], I don't know...," the clergyman said.
A sad Assistant Superintendent of the Westmoreland Fire Department Michael Mills described Andrew Brydson as a good worker. He said the incident has left members of the Westmoreland Fire Department in shock.
"I am disturbed, I am confused, I am nervous. It is unbelievable that a firefighter that I have worked with...; somebody that I have never had any reason to proffer any charges against [could die like this]," said Mills.
The young fireman, he said, was a good worker who participated in activities at the department. "... I will never get over this; it is hard to really swallow," he added.