Gunmen kill two, make off with millions in MoBay

Observer staff reporter

Monday, March 11, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY St James — A security guard and a driver were gunned down in a dramatic, suspected multi million-dollar heist by heavily armed men who intercepted the marked security company vehicle they were using to escort a minibus here yesterday morning.

The deceased, both of St James addresses, have been identified as 61-year-old security guard Canute Earle of Norwood, and 41-year-old driver Floyd Wilson of Rosemount Gardens.

Another security guard, whose identity the police withheld, was also shot and injured during the daring robbery.

Reports are that the dramatic robbery started to unfold about 8:00 am when Earle and a colleague were travelling in a marked Hawkeye security company motor car that was escorting a white Toyota Hiace minibus, driven by Wilson, with a Chinese national on board on Jarrett Street.

The heavily armed men alighted from a motor vehicle, which they used to block the path of the oncoming Hawkeye motor car and the minibus, and pelted them with bullets.

Earle, Wilson and another occupant of the car were shot.

Wilson died on the spot, while Earle was pronounced dead at hospital. Their colleague was admitted in a serious condition. The Chinese national managed to escape unhurt.

The shooters escaped with an undetermined sum from the Hiace van.

A resident of Jarrett Street with whom the Jamiaca Observer spoke, recounted that the driver of the security guard vehicle, in an attempt to elude the marauding gunmen, started to reverse, but did not get far and slammed into a pickup truck.

“Round here come in like Christmas with explosions. Only Norwood and Salt Spring mi hear so much shot fire inna (Montego) Bay,” he said.

Earlier this year, 62-year-old private security guard Lloyd Johnson of a Trelawny address was shot and killed during a botched robbery attempt on the nearby Barnett Street.

According to alleged bystanders, a group of gunmen lying in wait at the intersection of Barracks Road and Barnett Street peppered the Nissan motor car he was driving with bullets as the vehicle stopped. Johnson was transporting cash to a cambio.

He managed to drive away with the cash, but soon crashed into a Toyota Noah minivan near the intersection of Lightbody Avenue and Barnett Street. He died on the spot.

Yesterday's killing of Earle and Wilson were two of five, including that of a female, reported in St James yesterday morning.

A man was shot and killed in the tough Norwood community at about 8:15 am. Another was reportedly shot and killed in the community of Farm Hill, Montego Bay, while the body of the female was found along a beach in Montego Bay earlier. Her head was reportedly bashed in.

Security Minister Dr Horace Chang noted that since the lifting of the state of emergency, there has been “a major resurgence of criminal activity” in the second city.

“In a sense, in the pathology of crime, when you have a reduction you tend to get a resurgence — which is why you have to maintain your suppressive activity for long enough to have behavioural change, and that is what we were looking at. Unfortunately, it is not so,” Dr Chang bemoaned.

He noted that legislation is being drafted to include the “capacity to separate the known violence producers and criminal organisers from the communities, while the police build the case and in fact rebuild confidence in the community”.

“So, I will await the response of the Opposition to that particular position, because unless we have that capacity while we build out the security forces' capacity, we are going to have problems,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, in a joint statement yesterday, shared concern over the rising crime trend.

“The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Jamaica Hotel Tourist Association note their increasing concerns regarding the trend of criminal activities within the city of Montego Bay and the parish of St James since the announced intentions and actual withdrawal of the enhanced security measures,” a portion of the statement read.

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