MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A road rage brawl between two licensed firearm holders has left one with a serious gunshot injury and the other in police custody.
The incident occurred shortly after 10:30 am Tuesday in the presence of several onlookers at Gutters on the Manchester/St Elizabeth border. Police said late yesterday that the injured man was in serious but stable condition in hospital.
Reports pieced together from the police and people claiming to be eyewitnesses said a Toyota Rav4 driven by a Santa Cruz resident pulled up beside a Toyota Hiace passenger minibus driven by another Santa Cruz resident when the bus had reportedly stopped at Gutters to pick up a passenger.
The Rav4 driver allegedly accused the minibus driver of dangerous driving, triggering a physical confrontation between them.
"The Rav4 man pull up beside the minibus man [and] 'im say di minibus man bad-drive 'im; 'im have im gun inna 'im hand [and] 'im pull the minibus driver out of the van and box im cross 'im face wid di gun; 'im kick kick up di minibus man, all kick 'im inna im bottom in front of 'im passengers," a young man told the Jamaica Observer, while others nodded in assent.
The eyewitnesses said that as passengers from the minivan and other onlookers screamed in shock, the Rav4 driver returned to his vehicle and got behind the wheel. However, he was followed by the minibus driver, who by now also had a gun in hand.
Another physical confrontation allegedly ensued and in the process the Rav4 driver was shot in the upper right-hand side of his chest.
In a bizarre twist, the driver of the minibus got behind the wheel of the Rav4 and attempted to take the injured man, with "blood pumping from his chest", to hospital.
"The man who get shot hug up di minibus man and seh help mi, man, help mi... carry mi go hospital," one woman told the Observer. In summing up the incident, she insisted that the minibus driver had acted "in self-defence".
At that point, eyewitnesses said the minibus driver got behind the wheel of the blood-stained Rav4, leaving his minibus behind, and headed up Spur Tree with the injured man — the intention being to take him to the Mandeville Hospital.
But in another weird twist the vehicle developed mechanical problems at the top of Spur Tree and stalled. The injured man had to be taken to hospital in another vehicle.
The driver of the minibus was subsequently taken into police custody.
In an ugly aside, at least one person on the scene of the shooting smashed the windscreen of the minibus, eyewitnesses said.