IT was the worst birthday gift Angella Patterson could have imagined.
As the last hours of her 53rd birthday wound down, she got news that her son, 30-year-old Sheldon Miller, was shot dead during a police operation at Heroes Circle in Kingston.
Miller, she said, had travelled from Denham Town in West Kingston to visit a friend in that area when he was killed.
"The reports mi get is that mi son come check him friend, Chris, and police run in on dem and shoot them and kill the two a them," the grief-stricken mother told the Jamaica Observer as tears trickled down her cheeks.
Yesterday, the police on the scene were tight-lipped about the incident and the identity of the second victim could not be ascertained. The premises where the shootings took place has been cordoned off.
However, angry residents maintained that the men were innocent and were killed in cold blood.
An alleged eyewitness said he was in his yard when he saw several police officers alight a vehicle. He said what happened next has left him puzzled.
"The police dem just drive up in the area, run over to the yard, and after that a pure shot we hear," he claimed.
He alleged that it was hours after the explosions that he saw the police leaving the area with the bullet-riddled bodies of the two men.
"Dem kill the youth dem and dem innocent. Dem can't come try and mek no report and talk about a shoot-out because we know the men were not trouble makers," shouted another resident.
Yesterday, Patterson and others on the scene accused the police of a cover-up. The distraught mother had to be consoled as she wailed uncontrollably.
"A today I was suppose to celebrate my birthday, and this is what I get, to come hear that dem kill mi son," said the distraught mother whose painful cry triggered anger among residents in the area.
"A yesterday mi talk to mi son enuh. Mi cyaan believe mi son dead. Dem kill him. Mi need justice," said the mother, as she vowed to seek the help of human rights lobby group Jamaicans for Justice in her pursuit for the "truth".
The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has since launched an investigation into the incident. But assurances from the INDECOM team that the matter would be thoroughly investigated did little to comfort Patterson and the angry residents.