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School vendor shot dead, grandson injured

Thursday, November 08, 2012    

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RESIDENTS of the farming village of Water Mount in St Catherine have been torn apart by Tuesday night’s brutal slaying of a 62-yearold woman, and the shooting of her six-year-old grandson.

The dead woman, Panzie Morgan, was seated in her house minutes after 8:00 when gunmen invaded her home and held her at gunpoint.

The woman was briefly questioned by her attackers before they shot her several times and slashed her in the face. The injured woman mustered the strength to get to her front yard but collapsed and died.

The killers, residents said, then entered a bedroom where the child was sleeping and shot him twice. He was on life support in hospital up to late evening.

The brazen gun attack drew the ire of Morgan’s neighbours, who described her as a churchgoer who had no quarrel with anyone.

“The whole community is shaken up. There is no reason we can find for this to happen to a woman like Miss Panzie. She was a hard worker who did so much to survive. She sold at the school gate, she raised her chicken, and she have her goats. What a tragedy,” one woman said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Morgan’s daughter, who had gone to a nearby shop to purchase painkillers, found her mother’s body sprawled in a pool of blood and rushed inside to find her son suffering from gunshot wounds.

The attack has been a hard pill to swallow for the woman as four years ago her family buried her only brother who was killed overseas. Now she is forced to bury her mother and hope that her only child will survive the terrible ordeal.

Morgan’s murder was particularly chilling for the 138 students of the Water Mount Primary school in the West Central St Catherine district. The students last saw Morgan hours before her untimely demise when they left school for home. Among the student population are at least six of her younger relatives and all were in tears yesterday.

According to school Principal Nadine Small, Morgan was a part of the school family and her killing has hit home hard.

“It’s very traumatic, devastating. The children broke down in tears during devotion. Teachers are broken, ancillary staff are broken. She was more than a vendor to us,” Small said.

Guidance Counsellor Erica Knight said contact was made with the Ministry of Education requesting support to counsel the traumatised students, some of whom are scheduled to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test early next year.

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