‘All hell broke loose’
A tip from the person who was to pay a $200,000 ransom for a kidnapped man led to police thwarting the scheme and killing one suspect in the process.
The 22-year-old victim was rescued by the St Catherine North Police during a late-night operation in Tawes Meadows, Spanish Town, in St Catherine, on Thursday.
According to a press release from the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Corporate Communications Unit on Friday, two individuals were also arrested and a firearm seized during the operation.
Relaying the series of events that led to the showdown, a police source told the Jamaica Observer that the victim went into a pharmacy as a customer. However, he was accused of stealing something by the security guard and pharmacy personnel â€” an accusation he denied.
The police source said the individuals searched him but did not find anything on him. Apparently not satisfied, they proceeded to beat him, then called their “badman” friends to take over the situation.
“So, apparently they called them now to make this man maybe pay money,” the source told the Observer. “The men came and took away the victim. They also beat him and demanded the funds.
“When he communicated with the person who was to pay the $200,000 on his behalf, the person communicated with us,” the source said, noting that the police ended up listening in on the conversation in which the kidnappers again demanded the money and where it was to be taken.
He said because the kidnappers did not know who would have handed over the ransom, a few cops in disguise travelled in a car to the drop-off spot, and all, except for the driver, hid themselves inside the vehicle.
“When the men came for the ransom, we jumped out and grabbed them. One of the men [who was] near a shop opened fire and then all hell broke loose,” he said.
The official police release said that during the course of the operation the cops encountered armed resistance.
“In the ensuing engagement, one of the suspects was fatally shot. He has not yet been identified. A .38 revolver containing five .38 cartridges was seized at the scene,” the release said.
In the release, area commander for Police Area Five, Assistant Commissioner of Police Gary Griffiths commended the swift action of the St Catherine North police, saying the team prevented a potential tragedy and demonstrated the force’s commitment to public safety and its relentless efforts in combating crime.
The police also urged anyone with additional information to come forward to assist in the ongoing investigation. People can call Crime Stop at 311 or the Spanish Town police at 876-984-2305.
The police say the Independent Commission of Investigations has been informed of the incident.