Mother, a bishop, disputes that son killed after 'gun salute'
Cheryl Campbell, distraught mother of Yohimbe Brydson, lamenting the death of her son at her Ricketts Street, Savanna-la-Mar, home yesterday. (Photos: Philp Lemonte)

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — A mother is opposing claims by the police that her 14-year-old son was shot and killed in an alleged confrontation between members of the security forces and men who were reportedly involved in new year “gun salutes” in a section of the tough inner-city community of Dexter Street, here.

The deceased has been identified as Yohimbe Brydson of Ricketts Street in this town.

Brydson's 15-year-old cousin was also shot and injured during the incident.

Reports from the police are that shortly after midnight on Friday, January 1, members of a security forces team went into the Dexter Street area of the town in response to complaints of a barrage of gunshots coming from the community.

The police reported that the team which allegedly came under heavy gunfire, returned the fire. Following the shooting the 14-year-old boy was found suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

But community members refuted the police claim that there was any gun firing in the area. They told the Jamaica Observer that they were in the process of holding hands to pray, as is their custom when a new year begins, when they came under gunfire from members of the security forces.

The parish of Westmoreland is under curfew. In keeping with the Disaster Risk Management Act the curfew hours for Westmoreland began at 7:00 pm on December 31, 2020 and end at 5:00 am on January 15, 2021, with people allowed to move about between 5:00 am and 7:00 pm each day. During the period, gatherings in a public place should not exceed 10 people, and markets and vending in public arcades and public transportation centres are only allowed during the hours of 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

“There was no shooting in the area. We just get together, as usual, on new year's morning because you know we can't go anywhere because of the curfew. The soldier them just come and start shooting and shoot Yohimbe and him drop right there,” expressed a female member of the community, pointing to a blood-stained spot in the road.

A grieving Cheryl Campbell, mother of the deceased, also rejected claims that her son was among persons firing guns.

The distraught Campbell noted that she was at home when she got the call that her son was killed.

“Don't go tell no lie 'bout a no man a shoot after them. Nothing nuh guh suh! No shot no fire. Me sure no shot no fire round there. Any shot fire is from their [security forces] gun. If my pickney a bad pickney me wouldn't feel it so. Me a bishop, me try to raise them good. Me carry them to church,” bemoaned the grief-stricken mother who is a bishop in Sacred Heart Spiritual Church of Jesus Christ, located at Cooke Street in this town.

She revealed that she was told that her son was shot as he was about to leave the gathering to head home.

She also lamented that her 15-year-old nephew was shot in his left arm during the incident.

The boy complained that he wanted the bullet that has lodged in his arm to be removed but he was told at hospital that it would only he done after an ultrasound was carried out.

Community members told the Sunday Observer that Brydson, whom they said was the captain of the Petersfield High School under-14 football team and a class monitor, was not a troublemaker.

“Him nuh give problem. Him was a girls man who loved to dress slick,” one community member said.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has launched a probe into the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting.

BRYDSON... police suggest he was killed after participating in new year's 'gun salutes'; momdisputes that
Jahvon Moncrieffe showing where a bullet is lodged in his arm, yesterday at his home in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
BY HORACE HINES Staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

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