‘Unprovoked and senseless’
CHRISTIANA, Manchester — Leaders in Manchester say they are shocked following Tuesday night’s gun attack at a family fun day, which left five people injured, even as police are warning that permits are being reviewed for other events.
Member of Parliament for Manchester North Eastern Audley Shaw, who attended the event at Apple Tree Plaza, said the incident is unusual.
“I was there and left before this incident. I have asked the police to leave no stone unturned in their search for these criminals. We are not used to this kind of criminality in this constituency,” he told the Jamaica Observer via WhatsApp on Wednesday.
The annual two-day gospel concert and family event conceptualised by the late businessman Lennnox “Peter” Powell was being held in memory of him following his passing in June.
Head of the Manchester Police Superintendent Shane McCalla told the Observer that the incident, which happened shortly before 11:00 pm, was an “unprovoked and senseless act”.
“It is a yearly event that is always peaceful with a fun day. The information that we have so far is that two men on a bike rode up minutes to 11:00 pm and opened fire indiscriminately at persons standing outside the venue,” said McCalla.
“Based on our investigations so far we have not established any motive,” he added.
The five people — four men and a woman — have been hospitalised in stable condition.
Superintendent McCalla suggested a ban is likely for some events.
“There is a strong possibility that there will be a ban on events from now leading to New Year’s Eve. This will be done on a case-by-case assessment. Intelligence will have to be assessed, reassessed and we will do a review of the decision within the first week of January,” said McCalla.
“In an abundance of caution and to ensure public safety, it is necessary that we as the police put some precautionary measures in place and this is one of the measures that is on the table. Moving into the new year we can’t afford to have senseless acts taking place like this where innocent persons come out to enjoy themselves at a permitted event and are targeted by hoodlums,” he added.
Custos of Manchester Garfield Green condemned the shooting.
“I am very shocked, because I know what Mr Powell used to do in the years gone by and I know he was doing it out of his heart with love for the people. I know people from Trelawny came over, so it went beyond Christiana,” he said.
Green said the attack at the culmination of the two-day event affects community spirit and shows indiscipline in the society.
“For someone to carry out such a brazen attack on the people, [it] is very sad. I think it goes to show the high level of indiscipline in the society… When you shoot into a crowd like that you don’t know who is going to get shot,” he said.
“We have really lost some values in our people. I hope that the police will find these persons quickly and they themselves will be brought to justice. Hopefully, if convicted, they will be rehabilitated one way or the other. We really need to regain some of our lost values that this country was built on. We need to be respectful of the authorities. It is really just a handful of people causing the mayhem,” added Green.