Bike-riding gunmen on rampage in Negril
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — THE Westmoreland police are grappling with a recent wave of murders and robberies perpetrated by gunmen travelling on motorcycles.
But despite the similarity in the method of transportation used by the gunmen, Commander of the Westmoreland Police Division, Deputy Superintendent Errol Ranger, is not prepared to conclude that it is the same set of bikers who are responsible for the spate of murders.
“We are indeed concerned and we are continuing to work here (in Negril) where we are pursuing leads to bring the perpetrators to justice,” DSP Ranger told the Observer West. “It could be the same perpetrators because of similar modus, but investigations will determine that.”
In just eight days, motorcycles have featured in four separate killings — three of them in Negril — in the parish.
The most recent homicide involving gunmen operating motorcycles was reported on Monday night when 22-year-old Jeffery Ewen of the Red Ground section of Negril was peppered with bullets by two gunmen.
Reports are that about 8:30, Ewen — who disembarked from his motorcycle he drove home with a female companion as a pillion — was about to enter his gate when he was pounced upon by two gun-toting men, who rode up on motorcycles. Ewen ran but was chased by the men who opened fire hitting him repeatedly before jumping on the bikes to make their escape.
Ewen was pronounced dead at the Savannala- Mar Public General Hospital, while his female companion, said to be a Black American staying at a hotel in West End, Negril, escaped unhurt.
The incident occurred three nights after the second of two incidents in the West End area of the resort town where motorcycle-riding gunmen struck last week.
Last Friday night, 55-year-old Wenzil Heron, most popularly known as Dougbert, who lived in the Top Little section of Little London, Westmoreland, was attacked by gunmen in the West End betting shop where he went to collect money.
Reports are that about 8:20 am Heron, who collects money at various business establishments on behalf of his employer, was about to execute his duty at a Supreme Ventures gaming outlet in West End, when assailants pounced and took five bags loaded with an undetermined sum of money.
The wounded Heron failed in his bid to escape in his motor car, which slammed into a nearby utility pole. Heron’s attackers reportedly made their escape on motorcycles.
Three days before that, gunmen shot and killed 51-year-old Colin Lynch at his business establishment Out of Town Pastry and Bakery in West End, Negril, and took the cash register before they made off on motorcycles.
Reports from the Negril Police are that about 9:00 pm, two men travelling on a motorcycle entered Lynch's premises where they engaged him in a brief conversation before opening fire, hitting him.
Lynch was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Meanwhile, last Sunday it was reported that about a dozen motorcyclists sprayed a bar with bullets, killing 32- year-old farmer Horace Brissett and injuring another man in the Westmoreland community of Hartford.
In the meantime, the recent method of operation employed by the gunmen has prompted DSP Ranger to intensify a drive against motorcycles operating contrary to the Road Traffic Act. The initiative has resulted in the seizure of six motorcycles between Negril and Little London last Thursday.
However, the head honcho of the Westmoreland police division admitted that motorcycles operating in breach of the Act have posed a perennial problem in the parish. “As we seize them, others appear even as we have those we seized in our position,” DSP Ranger argued.
“They (motorcycles) are legitimately sold by dealers; however, for the most part they are not licensed or insured.” Over the weekend, Winthrope Wellington, a director of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, expressed concerns over the two individuals, who were up to that time last week, killed in the West End section of Negril.
“It obviously is concerning. A safe community is one of the priorities of a business owner and a resident here in Negril. Where these crimes are concerned, I am sure that the police are making these attacks one of their top priorities,” Wellington stated.
In the meantime, DSP Ranger noted that prior to those killings in West End, a patrol was dedicated to that section of the resort town after a feud threatened to escalate between two factions, following the death of three children who lost their lives when fire razed a house in the community.
The senior cop noted that the two murders occurred while the patrol was in another section of the community. “Following the death of the three children in the West End area we had intelligence in relation to some feud which prompted us to initiate a patrol which concentrated in the area,” DSP Ranger told the Observer West.
“We have since dedicated an additional patrol of two motorcycles, specifically for that area.”