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Slaying of Middleton Meadows residents leaves community in shock

Criminals have Middleton Meadows under siege — residents

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 22, 2014    

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ANGER, shock and a sense of despair permeated the quiet Middleton Meadows, in St Catherine yesterday, following the slaughtering of four of the community's residents by rampaging gunmen early Wednesday night.

Twenty-year-old Shana-Kay Simpson; her friend Garfield Simpson, 35; Recodel Jackson, 27; and 43-year-old Dean Pratt died after being shot multiple times in two separate incidents by three masked hoodlums who went on a robbery spree in the rustic community which sits between bustling Bog Walk and Linstead.

Police said the frightening series of events began about 9:00 pm when the thugs, one of whom was dressed in army fatigue, quietly made their way into the community.

In the first incident, the police said the thieves held up a group of people and robbed them of their cellphones and other valuables before turning their guns on Shana-Kay and Garfield, who were standing near their gates

The criminals then went to another section of the community near a shop where they attempted to rob Jackson before peppering him with bullets.

Pratt, who was driving by at the time, was ordered to stop by the gunmen, but refused. He, too, was fired on. The criminals then fled the community on foot.

"Di man dem go to di shop, hold up di youth, and shoot him and kill him. During the attack, a motorist who was passing was ordered to stop, and when he refused the gunmen pumped several bullets into his vehicle," related a resident as he stood close to a spot stained with Jackson's blood.

Yesterday, terrified residents said they were shocked and angered by the killings, adding that the community has been under siege by thugs in recent months. The killings, they said, brought to seven the number of residents who have been murdered in less than a month.

"The people in the community are living in fear," said a woman, too afraid to disclose her name.

Other residents told the Jamaica Observer that residents were not only being robbed, but that several women have been raped in the community.

Seventy-four-year-old Ruby Fuller, Shana-Kay's grandmother, was numbed by the incident.

"When mi think back on what happened I still can't come to mi senses 'bout what really tek place to know Shana-Kay just gone like that," said a dazed Wallace, as relatives and friends tried to comfort her.

Meanwhile, Pratt's partner, Margaret Dickson, tried to put on a brave face as she reflected on his life.

"Him don't trouble people. Him was a jovial person who got along with people. And to see him come lose him life like that is just unbearable," said Dickson.

A friend of the grieving woman vented her anger at the police, saying they should increase their presence in the area. She also said there was a need for street lights.

"Right now the criminals lurking in the area because of the lack of street lights," she said, noting that overgrown vegetation also made the area attractive to criminals.

A few chains down the roadway, anger boiled as Robert Jackson tried to come to grips with how his son Recodel met his demise.

"My son was a person who did not trouble people; he was loved by everyone. He was a person who would go to work and return straight home," said Jackson. He said the last discussion he had with his son, who was a junior analyst at Nestlé, was about a plan the latter had to take other family members to the beach.

Yesterday, councillor for the Bog Walk Division, Peter Abrahams, said he was concerned about the reports of criminality in the area.

"What is happening in the community is a cause for concern and cannot be allowed to continue," he said yesterday as the police visited the homes of the deceased and interacted with other residents.

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