Two killed, 3 injured in Westmoreland in less than 24 hoursSunday, November 28, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
HARTFORD, Westmoreland — Even as one community in this western parish grappled with Thursday night's attack that left a teenager dead and injured three others, including a toddler, an unidentified motorcyclist was shot dead by another rider along a main road about 2:30 pm Friday.
That brings to five the number of recorded murders in the parish since a state of public emergency was declared here two weeks ago.
On Friday, the aunt of the teenager shot dead after an attempt to burn down their house Thursday night said she is convinced those who took his life will never be punished. The attack has left residents of the usually quiet community of Morass district paralysed by fear and afraid to talk.
“Nothing is not going to be done about it because when a person dead, it just done deh so because people fear fi dem lives. People could have seen what took place last night but do not want to talk. So it is hard, mi a tell yuh, man,” said the woman who asked not to be identified by name. She also chose not to explain why the family had stayed away from the area for eight months, returning only two months ago.
According to the police, the attack on the family is linked to an incident that took place in 2019 when a man was killed.
“The person would have been brought before the court and acquitted. So I do not want to get into that,” said Superintendent of Police Robert Gordon, who is in charge of the Westmoreland police division. Efforts are being made, he said, to stop the ongoing tit-for-tat killings that have left a trail of grief in their wake.
“We are reaching out to them [residents] to give as much as they can and to allow us to treat with the situation without them taking things in their own hands. Because if this is a reprisal, it means that if the police don”t deal with it, there is a possibility that there will be a counter-reprisal, which we do not want,” he said.
It is reported that about 8:30 pm gunmen attempted to set fire to the board house where a family of five lived. The police said the occupants saw the gunmen and raised an alarm. The armed men sprayed the house with bullets and four people were shot. They were taken to hospital where 17-year-old Delano Spence, who was in training to become a mechanic, was pronounced dead. His sister was unharmed while his mother and her spouse were treated for gunshot wounds to the upper body. The injured toddler, Spence's sister, may need reconstructive surgery as a bullet shattered her jaw, her aunt said.
Custos of Westmoreland Reverend Canon Hartley Perrin said the incident has traumatised staff and students of Petersfield Primary and Infant School, which the toddler attends.
“I spoke with the principal earlier who advised me of the situation and I know that the students in her class would have been traumatised [based] on the fact that one of their own would have been struck by a bullet,” he said.
“We can only pray for her, her family and the school community at this time. And I certainly hope that she will have a full recovery in short order,” Perrin added.
On Friday a team from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) visited the community and spoke with relatives in an attempt to provide emotional support. For now, the grieving aunt can only look back at what she said were warning signs.
“I was feeling it from [Wednesday] night but I didn't know. My stomach and my belly were burning me the whole night. But I didn't know. It was this morning [Friday] that I heard it on the news,” she explained.
“So, when mi was coming down now, mi si di crowd and mi stop and ask and them seh a Margret get shoot up — that a mi sister,” added the woman as she struggled to hold back tears.
According to Superintendent Gordon, the police are trying to identify suspects as their investigations into that incident continue. They are yet to make a breakthrough in Friday's shooting of the motorcyclist along the Nampriel Main Road in Negril, an incident that caused a pile-up of traffic for more than an hour.