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Gunmen murder brilliant student

School and community devastated by teen’s death

BY KARYL WALKER Editor Crime/Court Desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 11, 2013    

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THE murder of 16-year-old John-Michael Hett and the shooting of two other youngsters on Monday night has hit the community of Portsmouth in Portmore, St Catherine very hard.

Hett, who was a brilliant student of the Dunoon Park Technical High School, was looking forward to sitting six subjects in the upcoming Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Police report that Hett and his two friends were walking along a pathway in the community when gunmen pounced and shot all three.

The friends are now in hospital being treated for gunshot wounds but Hett was not so lucky.

He died on the spot.

A group of residents , gathered close to the house where he lived with his mother were openly hurt and devastated at the news of the demise of one of the community's brightest.

"He was always on his laptop (computer) studying. He was always one who had manners and you could ask him any word and he could tell you the meaning out of his head," one resident, close to tears, told the Jamaica Observer.

"Him was sitting on him wall on him computer before him get up to go to the pharmacy. Him wasn't involved in any crime, so when them talk about reprisal nothing like that. They killed an innocent youth who was going on to big things," one woman said.

Hett's mother was not at home when the Observer visited the community but residents expressed concerns about her present state of mind.

"She keep asking how she going to do without him. She cried last night till her knees get weak," one man said, shaking his head.

The motive behind Hett's murder was not clear but one resident theorised that the killers were after one of the other teenagers and cut down all three.

"It's always the innocent who get the bitter end. Him dead and don't even know what him do," another resident said.

News of Hett's killing also jolted students and staff at the school where he was a member of the prefect body.

Senior Vice-Principal at Dunoon Park Technical Winnifred Henry was almost at a loss for words when contacted by the Observer.

"For staff and students and his form teacher it came as a surprise. He was not a troublesome boy and he was set to be part of the debating team. He would have sat a technical drawing exam today (yesterday)," Henry said.

Grief counsellors from the Ministry of Education and school resource officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force deployed at the Cawley Road-based school to help fellow pupils and school staff come to grips with the harsh reality that they would never see Hett's smile again.

"Representatives of other schools also sent condolences," Henry said

Acting Vice-President Sandra Harris said it would take some time for the school population to heal.

"He was one of our better students, well-mannered and tried his best. For us it has been a difficult day, both for students and staff. They are in the middle of exams and just to get through exams was difficult. The tears flowed," Harris said.

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