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Triple murder: Cops or gunmen?

Conflicting reports after 3 shot dead in St Mary

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 04, 2017

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THERE are conflicting reports surrounding the shooting deaths of three men, said to be farmers, in Long Road, St Mary, last Monday.

Residents and family of the deceased — 37-year-old Lincoln Crossdale, otherwise called 'Blacks'; 25-year-old Ricardo Griffiths; and 24-year-old Sherwaine Campbell, otherwise called 'Murgie' — told the Jamaica Observer North & East that the men were shot dead by the police, an allegation head of the St Mary police, Superintendent Fabian Farquharson, has denied.

The Annotto Bay police reported that about 9:30 am the three men were on their way to Crossdale's farm when they were ambushed and shot dead by seven masked men while leaving the vehicle they had travelled in.

The men were reportedly rushed to hospital where they were pronounced dead.

A fourth man escaped unharmed.

Last Wednesday when the Observer North & East visited the families of the deceased, they insisted that the men were gunned down by lawmen.

“A police kill dem. Dem seh him naah go mek dem lose dem work. A pure hard shoes dem wear and bad man naah shoot people and pick up back spent shells. Dem a shoot and run,” Crossdale's spouse Aliecia Beacon said.

Crossdale was out on an $800,000 bond as he was charged with robbery and shooting with intent after allegedly engaging police in a shoot-out following the alleged robbery of a store in the parish.

However, his family members told a different tale.

“Dem shoot him inna him foot over Line when him a go fi him goat dem and kill him friend. Dem carry him go court, then seh di gun dem tek offa him cannot be found. Every day since then him report to dem a station. Up to when him dead him report inna di morning. Him fi go court tomorrow (last Thursday) and di police man dem seh dem naah mek him go suh,” Beacon claimed.

Crossdale's mother, Sharon Fraser, told the Observer North & East that her son's lawyer allegedly told him last Friday that his life was in danger.

“…Him lawyer tell him not to walk alone because the case weh dem (police) have against him cannot stand up, so dem a go kill him. Him tell him seh when him a go anywhere him must walk with four or five somebody, that's why so much of them did deh deh. Him walk wid [three] and two a dem dead too. All yuh hear di police dem a talk, a weh dem plan up and seh,” Fraser insisted.

Crossdale was reportedly shot more than a dozen times.

“Mi son is hard-working; him tek care of him three pickney dem, ask anybody,” she continued, sharing that he had inherited farmlands from his late grandfather and was doing mixed crops when his troubles with the police began.

At the same time, Griffiths' mother, Valrie Christie, said her son was not a criminal. She noted that he was only able to accompany Crossdale to his farm because school was on break. He was a security guard at a basic school in the parish.

“A Monday morning him fi go back a work. Him is not no criminal. A lie dem a tell,” Christie said.

But when Observer North & East contacted Superintendent Farquharson, he described Crossdale as a “career criminal” and disclosed that Griffiths had come up on the police's radar for criminal activities. The superintendent said he could speak of Campbell, because he had not come up on the police's radar.

He explained that the police only learnt of the murders after the fourth man, who had escaped, called and informed Crossdale's spouse, Beacon, who then summoned them.

He further pointed out that criminals posing as lawmen should not be readily identified as such. The apparel, he said, is available to anyone.

“These men were not farmers. I will admit that Crossdale raised one and two animals and plant bananas, but that's not his livelihood; he's a criminal. He has a history of criminal activities. Griffiths I have on my record as being in criminal activities before. The one that escaped, he was charged for illegal possession of a firearm before,” he stressed.

“No police is involved in the shooting of anybody. Police were not there. It's the same family that took us to show us where the bodies were,” he added.

Meanwhile, Farquharson said the police are exploring three theories at this time relating to the murders.

Assistant Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigation Hamish Campbell, told Observer North & East that the commission is not probing the matter.

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