BOUNTY HALL, Trelawny — The Trelawny police have theorised that Friday morning's bloodbath which left three residents, including two females dead and three others hospitalised, is the result of a St James war between two rival gangs that migrated to the parish some time ago.
The deceased, all of Trelawny addresses, have been identified as 26-year-old bartender Tachae Black, also called Tash, of Wakefield; and 25-year-old Shanielia Clarke, who also goes by the moniker Sukie, and 24-year-old Daniel Williams, affectionately called Alkaline, both unemployed of Bounty Hall.
Reports are that about 1:45 am a black Toyota Voxy motor car with six occupants pulled up at a house in a section of Bounty Hall called Belgium when they were ensnared by four men, three of whom were armed with high-powered rifles. The gunmen peppered the vehicle with gunshots.
Investigators also say the deceased were a case of mistaken identity and pointed out that the target of the gunmen drove a vehicle similar to the Voxy in which the six, who were said to have been returning from an entertainment event, were travelling.
The triple murder was the first killings recorded in the parish since the start of the year. The Trelawny police enjoyed a 26 per cent reduction in murders in the parish last year, with 17 murders, six less than the 23 recorded in 2020. Trelawny, which tallied the second lowest number of murders across the 19 police divisions last year, was edged out by Portland which ended the year on 15.
When the Jamaica Observer visited the community, crime scene investigators were collecting pieces of evidence inside an area they cordoned off with yellow tape. Outside the cordoned-off area, several community members, with fear and sadness etched on their faces, gathered near the crime scene.
One female who spoke to members of the media on the condition of anonymity reflected on the life of Williams — one of the deceased — and disclosed that she had urinated on herself when she heard the barrage of gunshots in the usually quiet neighbourhood.
“We feel very, very bad and we have to cry. He [Williams] is our friend who used to give us jokes. You see when him give us jokes we have to laugh. Everybody feel it. Is me son friend, the whole a we here so friend. This morning when me get up and go to go wee wee [urinate], me wee wee up myself because me have to go down pon me belly. Me couldn't bear it. Me really think it was clappers but it was not clappers. Me feel it for the youth dem. The young man dem in this community loving, dem loving. Belgium don't do dem things deh,” she argued.
Another senior female resident added that it was the first time that she had experienced such an incident in the community.
“Is the first in me life me ever hear these something yah... and to come and see a dem yah something reach we this morning. Is a youth who is so jovial, him nice, him go round and talk to everybody. Me don't close to the girls like him but we miss them too,” she bemoaned.
Commander of the Trelawny police division Superintendent Carlos Russell noted that the gunshot victims were collateral damage in the war between two factions.
“This incident stemmed from some gang conflict that has been happening in the space. The police are aware of the situation and we are following strong leads and hopefully we will hold the persons involved very soon,” Superintendent Russell told reporters at the crime scene on Friday, while noting that the migrating gangsters have been on the Trelawny police radar for a period of time.
“Based upon our information, these persons involved in this conflict are not natives of the parish of Trelawny but they have been displaced here for some time. These are persons who we have been monitoring over the period and we are aware of the situation and we believe we can bring a closure to it very soon,” Superintendent Russell continued.
Further, Trelawny Northern's Member of Parliament Tova Hamilton condemned “the wanton killing of three residents and the wounding of three others”, and expressed concerns over criminals migrating to the parish.
“From information received, the victims were caught in a St James war that had nothing to do with Trelawny residents. It is alleged that this is a spillover of a St James feud. It appears Trelawny is being used as a safe haven for criminals who have fled hot-spot areas currently being targeted by the security forces and residents have been complaining. The community of Deeside is reportedly one such area that is housing outsiders. Residents are in fear of their lives,” stated Hamilton, who offered condolence to the bereaved family members.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of police in charge of crime Fitz Bailey, who also visited the crime scene, also expressed concern over migrating criminals, plus criminals on bail whom he said are often responsible for these heinous killings.
“In many instances people who perpetrate these crimes were persons who have been arrested by the police and are out on bail,” DCP Bailey argued.
Like Superintendent Russell, DCP Bailey committed to using all efforts to bring the perpetrators of the triple homicide to justice.
“We are going to use all the resources that are available to ensure that the people who are responsible are brought to justice. I want to say we are committed to that,” DCP Bailey said.