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Hell in West Kingston

Five shot dead between Tuesday night and yesterday

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 08, 2014    

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FIVE people were shot and killed in the Kingston Western Police Division between Tuesday and yesterday evening as gunmen continued their rampage in the city's west end.

The first incident, police said, took place on Race Course Road about 9:20 Tuesday night when a man, identified as Gerrel Bravo, alias 'Neiko', of Upper Regent Street was shot dead by gunmen while driving his motor vehicle in the area.

Residents reported hearing loud explosions and alerted the police, who searched the area and found Bravo's body slumped over the steering wheel of the vehicle.

Less than half an hour later, gunmen struck in Denham Town when a construction worker, identified as Vernon Vanzie, otherwise called 'Buba' and 'Anthony', was chased and shot dead while standing among a group of children on Metcalfe Street. While police were at that crime scene they were informed of another shooting, on Lincoln Crescent, where Kevin Black, a gas pump attendant, was shot several times as he stood outside a bar. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Two more murders were reported in the western section of the capital city yesterday evening. Details on yesterday's killings were not immediately available but the Jamaica Observer was told by a police source that one man was shot and killed on Pink Lane and the other on Hannah Street.

The killings, based on Observer calculations, has brought to nine the number of people killed in West Kingston in the last five weeks.

Residents of the area said yesterday that they were worried about the upsurge in gun violence.

"Right now we are in fear; everyday there is another shooting [and] we don't know who will be next," said a female resident of Denham Town.

"These criminals [are] going after each other despite the presence of the police; we are worried," said

another resident.

Other residents, meanwhile, claimed that the police have not been monitoring all sections of the troubled constituency. "The police are only pressuring over in Denham Town and not as much as in Tivoli Gardens," claimed one resident.

Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor, head of the West Kingston Division, however, dismissed the claims. "The police are working hard to clamp down on the operations of the criminals anywhere they are located; there is no special place that we patrol," McGregor told the Observer.

According to McGregor, while the police have made inroads in tackling crime in that troubled section of the city, some residents have made the work of the police difficult. "There are some residents who are helping the police but there are others who are providing safe havens for these criminals and places for them to hide [while] they carry out their deadly deeds," said McGregor.

The police, he said, will continue to review their operations to keep pressure on the criminals in the area.

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