Deadly gang feud
Curfew imposed after criminals kill three in Spanish Town gun battle
This video grab shows Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson (second left) being briefed on the situation in Spanish Town by the leadership of the St Catherine North Police Division in the town on Tuesday night. The police imposed a curfew on the town after gun violence among rival gangsters earlier in the afternoon resulted in three deaths. (Image courtesy Jamaica Constabulary Force)

Sections of St Catherine were last night under curfew as the security forces responded to an assault by marauding gunmen who late Tuesday afternoon stormed sections of Spanish Town, killing three people and injuring several.

The police have since pegged those incidents to “intra-gang conflicts” within the One Order gang which has, in recent weeks, inflamed that space.

On Tuesday, the spate of shootings which rocked communities said to be under the control of the One Order gang escalated to a running gun battle between criminals in the market district there and a fiery assault on the historic Spanish Town Courthouse in the Old Capital, which firefighters battled to control. Investigations are still ongoing to determine those responsible for starting that blaze, police told the Jamaica Observer.

The deadly violence created a huge traffic snarl on Mandela Highway as well as the north-south leg of Highway 2000.

According to police sources, the violence is a result of internal fighting over the sharing of extortion spoils. One man, identified only as “Mackerel”, was among the fatalities. Details relating to the number of injured, who the Observer was told were being treated at Spanish Town Hospital, were not available up to press time.

Deputy Superintendent Linroy Edwards, head of operations for the St Catherine North Police Division, speaking to the Observer as events unfolded, said “We have a situation now, gunmen all over Spanish Town.”

The One Order gang, which has historically feuded with the Klansman gang, is headquartered in the Tawes Pen community in Spanish Town and exercises control over the Ellerslie Pen, Dempshire Pen, Gordon Pen, Shelter Rock, Homestead, and Chambers Lane communities.

Edwards told the Observer that investigations are ongoing to identify the individuals behind the recent murders and shootings, which include a quadruple murder committed in the Railway Lane area close to Tawes Pen last week.

Motorists travel on the north-south leg of Highway 2000 on Tuesday to avoid violence between gangsters in Spanish Town. (Photo: Aston Spaulding)

In the meantime, he said there has also been infighting within the One Don gang with three men being shot on Saturday evening in the Jones Avenue area where the gang is headquartered. In that incident, an alleged gang member known as Red Paul, whose name has been mentioned several times during the ongoing trial of more than 24 alleged members of the faction, was the only fatality.

The cop said the police are also investigating whether any of the five men who had recently been released in the trial after the State’s case against them collapsed are behind the recent disturbance in that vicinity.

Edwards said a targeted operation in that respect led to the apprehension of a former accused in the gang trial in the Dam Head area of the parish on Tuesday. He was allegedly held with an illegal firearm in his possession. A further police operation led to the seizure of a second firearm which, the police said, is also thought to be linked to the former accused man.

The man, along with the other four men, had been charged for being part of a criminal organisation. Additionally, he had faced charges in connection with allegedly conspiring to murder an individual known as “Wee Wee” in 2015, and a November 2017 murder at a tyre shop in the parish.

The trial, which began with 33 individuals, now has 28 individuals remaining in the dock, including alleged leader Andre “Blackman“ Bryan. The accused are facing charges under the anti-gang legislation and Firearms Act.

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