News

Gang feud blamed for four deaths in Rockfort

BY KARYL WALKER Online news editor walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 28, 2012    

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A raging gang feud in the volatile east Kingston community of Rockfort has claimed four lives in the last eight weeks and the police report that they will be pulling out all the stops to ensure the violence does not escalate any further.

A dispute between the Base One and Harbour Road gangs have law-abiding residents of the community running scared and has resulted in a rapid response from the police who are working hard to keep a lid on the fighting.

Head of the Kingston East Police Division Superintendent Arthur Brown told the Jamaica Observer that no effort will be spared to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure that the rule of law and order is maintained.

"We will not relent in our efforts to beat back the criminal element. We have conducted a number of snap raids and cordon and searches and we have a constant presence in the community," Brown said.

Police have also imposed a curfew on the community.

The last murder occurred last Friday evening when gunmen attacked and shot Jazeel Pommell also called 'Quain'.

A week before Pommell's death, two women were killed in separate incidents.

One of the women was attacked and killed at her home at Sheffield Road, while the other woman was killed in a separate section of the community.

Police report that the gangs had joined forces in recent years in an effort to unseat long-time gangster and influential community member Anthony Brown, who died of natural causes in 2010.

But the fragile peace was shattered when earlier this year men associated with the Harbour Road gang attacked and murdered Mushey Pinnock who was aligned to the Base One gang.

Since then, both gangs have been at loggerheads and violence has reared its ugly head in the troubled community which has been subject to infighting for over a decade.

"There is a history of conflict in Rockfort that goes back many years. This is just the latest round," Brown said.

Over the last decade, more than 100 murders have been committed in Rockfort — a People's National Party stronghold represented by Member of Parliament Phillip Paulwell.

In October 2007 the country was rocked with news of the brutal murders of four-month-old Lorna Hurd; her 18-year-old mother, Shaneta Smith, and her father, 27-year-old Marlon Hurd; 19-year old Christina Brian and her mother, Violet Williams; 70-year-old Joanne Richardson and her nine-year-old grandson, Mutumbo Thomas.

Police reported then that the seven were victims of a gang feud.

Many homes were also firebombed resulting in a mass exodus of scared residents from the tough neighbourhood.

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