Why was Ann killed?

Black River locals mourn a senseless death

BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor at Large, South/Central Bureau myersg@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 06, 2013

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BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — The question continues to haunt loved ones, friends and others two weeks after Ann Marie Campbell's death.


Why was a well-liked 40 year-old businesswoman and mother of three shot by someone she knew well and with whom she had no quarrel?


The alleged shooter, Wayne Lewis, a licensed firearm holder, is in police custody and is scheduled to appear in the Black River Resident's Magistrates Court on May 8 on a charge of murder. The supposition by many is that Lewis, a 35 year-old truck driver, may simply have had too much to drink leading up to the shooting.


Police investigators say that on the evening of Thursday, April 18, Lewis was among patrons at Campbell's bar - one of a chain of wooden shops housing small businesses including bars and cook shops — at the bus park on Market Street in the St Elizabeth capital.


Police say their investigations reveal that at about 7:15pm Campbell attempted to take a photograph. Allegations are that Lewis then pulled his licensed firearm and pointed it at Campbell. According to the police, an explosion was heard and Campbell was rushed to hospital nursing a gunshot wound to the upper chest. She died four days later.


The incident has yet again triggered questions about the granting of gun licenses by the firearm licensing authority. Derrick Knight, head of the police Area Three (St Elizabeth, Clarendon and Manchester) told the Jamaica Observer Central that the police are very concerned.


"Over the last couple of years we have had a number of cases of licensed gun holders failing to properly control their weapons and themselves, sometimes leading to the weapon being stolen or in this case a tragic shooting," said Knight. Recalling a road rage shooting at Gutters on the border between St Elizabeth and Manchester in March, Knight said "perhaps the authorities will have to review the process of granting gun licences."


When the Observer Central visited the bar on Friday, an eye witness (name withheld) described the incident but was at a loss as to how and why a pleasant interlude involving friends having drinks together on a Thursday evening suddenly turned tragic.


"We all were having a drink in the bar and Waynie, he was moving from bar to bar," said the eye witness, struggling to keep back tears. "Sometimes he would go over (to a bar next door) then he would come over. The last time he come over we were taking pictures and to my mind, it seems as though he thought Anne was taking his picture and he said 'whe di f..k you a do?' and he shoot her, simple as that... I don't know why," the eye witness said.


According to the eye witness, Campbell ran from around the counter and fell in the middle of the bar. "I don't know what happen after that I went to look drive for her to go to hospital...," the eye witness said.


There were differing reports of what happened after that.


One story goes that the shooter ran to hug the badly injured woman crying "Ann, duh nuh dead, whoiiee!"


Another unsubstantiated report claims he told Campbell to "be quiet" when she asked why he had shot her. Yet another allegation is that he may have been attempting to place the gun in her hand immediately after the shooting.


Police say that Lewis was beaten by other patrons immediately after the shooting - so badly that he had to be hospitalised and missed an initial Court hearing in late April.


Campbell's fiancé, Paul Samms who was not at the scene of the shooting, politely declined to speak on the incident itself as he manned the bar during the Observer Central's visit.


"I ask the people coming into the bar not to talk about it," he explained, "I don't want to break down again". But he had high praise for a woman with whom he was romantically involved for four years. "She was loving, passionate, everything that's good," he said.


Others voiced similar sentiments. "She was more of a mother to me than a friend," said Mikisha Haywood, who told Observer Central she has known Campbell since 2008 when the latter returned from England following a stint of several years in that country. "She was an inspirational person, always calm and collected, always there to encourage you," Haywood added.


Alaina Messam, employed by Campbell four months ago as a bartender, described her late boss as an "excellent, kind, loving, caring, honest person, respected by everyone."


Across the road, farm produce vendor Minrose Smith, told Observer Central that she could always "trust" a drink or a cigarette, from the late bar operator. "That very day, the Thursday, mi trust a cigarette from her," Smith said, "she (Campbell) had manners and she was very friendly."


And at the bar next door, Natalie, who declined to give her full name and only came to Black River two weeks ago also had kind words for Campbell. "She was a very nice person," she said.


The funeral service for Campbell — mother of a young man in his early 20s, as well as a 16 year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy — will be held at the New Testament Church in Black River on May 11. A candlelight ceremony is scheduled for the bus park on May 9.


    

  


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