CRIMINAL attacks between Thursday night and yesterday morning have left officials at three schools contemplating an increase in security measures at their institutions.
In one of the incidents, officials at Cumberland High School in Portmore, St Catherine, were left in shock when a gunman ran onto the school's compound in a bid to escape after robbing, shooting and injuring a woman in the nearby West Cumberland shortly before 8:00 in the morning.
Police reported that the woman was walking across a gully next to the West Cumberland housing scheme when she was robbed of her cellphone, handbag and then shot in the hand. The gunman raced across the Newlands main road and ran into Cumberland.
There were nervous moments when the armed man was seen running onto the school compound with a woman's handbag. He hid the bag and firearm and quickly left the compound.
Police, who were called to the school, reportedly recovered a firearm and a bag belonging to the man. There was an unconfirmed report that the suspect was later held in Cumberland, and was said to be dressed in khaki uniform. Police said he is a past student of Cumberland High.
In the meantime, the Half-Way-Tree police were also kept busy after a parent was shot and injured during a robbery attempt at the Montessori Children's World on Windsor Avenue in Kingston.
Police reported that about 1:30 pm the parent, said to be a businessman, went to pick up his child when he was held up and shot by a man who also attempted to rob him. The man, a licensed firearm holder, opened fire at his attacker who managed to escape.
The incident forced the suspension of classes and left teachers and school officials in shock.
"I did not know what was happening when I first heard the explosion [as] it never occurred to me that what I heard were shots," said one school official. She said that she was surprised when she heard that someone had been shot.
"This is the first time that such an incident has taken place at the school," said the school official. Attempts by the Observer to speak to the principal were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, teachers and other officials of the Tivoli Gardens High School in West Kingston were locked in meeting yesterday to discuss plans to beef up security at the school after a fire, believed to be the work of arsonists, damaged the staff room.
Paul Napier, acting principal of the school, said about 10:00 pm on Thursday residents saw smoke coming from the educational institution and raised an alarm. Police and firefighters were called and the blaze was extinguished.
"Reports we have received is that the fire may have been the work of arsonists," the acting principal said.
He also said that the incident has left officials worried as there have been several robbery attempts at the school since the start of the year.