WOODGROVE, Trelawny — A man said to be the brother of Kenville Mullings, the 33-year-old farmer who slaughtered his two young daughters before committing suicide in Woodgrove late last month, was arrested at his brother's funeral yesterday after he allegedly pumped several bullets into the casket containing the remains, causing mourners to flee.
However, up to late last night the police were still searching for the firearm with which the crime was allegedly committed.
The incident allegedly happened during the committal at the graveside at the family plot in Woodgrove, following a memorial service at the White Dove Funeral Chapel in Lowe River, when the casket was being lowered into the vault.
An alleged eyewitness told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that "all hell broke loose" when the man — apparently overcome with grief — pulled the firearm from his waistband and began firing into the air first, then at the casket.
Frightened mourners, the eyewitness said, were sent scattering in all directions.
The man, meanwhile, was taken into custody by police officers who were at the funeral.
In confirming the incident, Assistant Commissioner of Police Devon Watkis said the man will be questioned and his hands swabbed. He said the Wait-a-Bit police were searching for the firearm.
Meanwhile, the pastor who was conducting the burial told the Observer last night that he remained undaunted even as the drama unfolded.
"I stayed there and completed the job. Some persons scampered away, but I stood firm based on what I had earlier preached in church," the clergyman told the Observer during a telephone interview.
He said the message of his sermon was a charge for people to "seek and comfort each other, as, in times of sorrow, people needed each other".
"I was encouraged to be there. I don't know the person. It went so well from the service to graveside, until then," he added.
An enraged Mullings cut the throats of his two daughters — Kimocoya, four, and two-year-old K-alee before hanging himself in the wee hours of February 26 — apparently angered by his separation from their mother, Kelly-Ann Smith, with whom he'd had a seven-year relationship. Smith had moved out of the family home in Woodgrove, a week prior, with the two girls, and had gone to live with her mother in Coleyville, Manchester.
According to witnesses, Kimocoya was found with her throat slashed, lying in a pool of blood on the floor, while K-alee was discovered in the yard, covered with a jacket just outside a building which was used as a bathroom in the wee hours of February 26. Mullings was found hanging from the roof of his house.
The children's mother reported that, before the incident, Mullings had held a cutlass to her throat but was prevented from causing her harm after her mother threw rocks at him. He had turned up in Manchester with the two girls, whom had collected earlier in the day, on pretence that he was there to drop them off.
Smith maintains that the incident could have been prevented had Wait-a-Bit police responded to her distress calls.
Meanwhile, a memorial service for the two girls will be held next Sunday at the Christiana Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester.
Member of Parliament for South Trelawny Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert says the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has committed to provide full financial assistance for the burial of the sisters.