JESSICA KING and Detective Constable Lincoln McKoy seemed the perfect young couple as their relationship blossomed over the past five years.
They lived together in a nice apartment, the Alexander Courts, along Somerstown Road, in downtown Port Antonio, Portland. They seemed happy around the community and in love. "They seemed like nice people," a neighbour told the Jamaica Observer last week.
Although he had only three years of service in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, McKoy was already a well-regarded detective. He had a bright future. He was selected to participate in "all the career-building courses", said a close colleague. McKoy had a reputation for solving every case assigned to him. The 24-year-old detective's proficiency led to him being transferred from the Port Antonio Police Station to the Buff Bay station, which serves a more crime-prone area.
King, a beautiful 23-year-old, was employed as an auditor and supervisor at Petal's Supermarket on Williams Street, not far from the apartment that she shared with McKoy.
They had been together ever since McKoy swept her off her feet during their time at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education where they both earned associate degrees in business studies. The two were inseparable and could be seen together about campus, so it was no surprise when they moved in together.
But the couple started having problems a year ago, as a result of alleged infidelity on both their parts. During the turbulent period, McKoy repeatedly told a close colleague that he would be leaving King as soon as he finds a "better" woman. Still, the colleague didn't believe that McKoy would actually leave.
Things came to a head on August 6, according to a neighbour, when King moved back to her mother's house in the hilly area of Millbank, in the Rio Grande Valley, following an argument.
King, who is usually guarded about her private life, told a close friend at work that she broke off the relationship with McKoy. "She said she needed time from him and that she was more comfortable living with her mom," said the friend who asked not to be named.
But McKoy tried wooing her back, calling her number and showing up at her workplace. On Monday, according to the friend, King showed her a text, purportedly from McKoy, which said that he would kill himself if she did not return.
The two were reportedly back on speaking terms, and on Tuesday McKoy visited King at her workplace and spent a considerable portion of the day there. But no one would have guessed what McKoy had in store for the woman he claimed to have loved and could not do without.
Late afternoon on Wednesday, McKoy had just returned to the Buff Bay Police Station from court. A colleague was leaving for home in Port Antonio and asked McKoy if he wanted to travel with him. McKoy said no and told him to go on ahead.
King was at the supermarket picking at a meal that she had asked a friend to purchase.
"How you a pick the food so like you nuh want it?" Donovan Higgins, a cousin and co-worker of King's, wanted to know.
King raised her head. Higgins saw tears in her eyes.
"What is the problem?" he asked.
"Cous, you wouldn't know," she responded.
Around 4:10, McKoy -- a short, stocky fellow -- walked into the store. His service weapon sticking from his waistband drew the attention of King's co-workers, who had never before seen him with a firearm.
"What's happening?" he said, slapping palms with a male employee at the supermarket and being his "usual jovial self".
He asked for King and was pointed in her direction. McKoy told her to take her lunch "so we can talk".
"Alright," she agreed and asked for her lunch break.
Jennifer, a heavy-set higgler, was seated outside the doors of the supermarket where she peddles her ground provisions when McKoy and Jessica walked out.
McKoy's gun caught her eye and she scrutinised him. She recalled that his often pleasant, round face was now stern.
King had left her cellphone in the supermarket and turned back.
"Me a come," she told McKoy. He stopped, stuck his beefy thumbs in the pockets of his pants, assuming a sort of cowboy stance, and gave King what Jennifer thought was a "nasty look".
When King returned, Jennifer thought about saying something, anything, to her. Perhaps warn her against leaving with McKoy. But she held her peace and watched as the two walked along Williams Street and out of sight.
The pair ended up at the Errol Flynn Marina, a popular and scenic hangout spot for lovers, which is within walking distance from King's workplace. At the marina, the two stopped at an area near to the entrance called Lovers' Spot, several feet from the marine police building on the premises.
A purported witness told the Sunday Observer that a heated argument then developed between King and McKoy.
"I hear three shots and when I look around mi see blood on her face and she drop on her back and him shoot her again. Him then shot himself and fall face down on her and mi hear one more shot and see smoke near his left shoulder. Some police come over and tek him up in a police car and take him away and another take her up and drive away," the witness said.
McKoy was airlifted to the hospital where he remains in serious condition.
With that, King became Portland's sixth murder victim for the year and joins a line of women to lose their lives at the hands of their lovers who are policemen.
Some 10 minutes after the shooting, King's colleagues were in mourning. A poster of King with the words 'Gone too soon' and 'Jessica King sadly missed,' was hung in the supermarket for all to see.
The community of Millbank was in a state of shock at the news. Some residents wanted to exact their own brand of justice. On Thursday, King's mother, who is a district constable, was too stricken with grief to talk to the media.
Fitz King, Jessica's father, was beside himself with grief. He said he heard that McKoy used to physically assault his daughter, which was the news making the rounds after the killing.
"There is no justification for killing a person you have a five-year relationship with," said King, "unless the officer became a sick person."
Additional reporting by Everard Owen