A former co-worker of an alleged victim of the Klansman gang yesterday described for the court the frantic dash he made for safety on the night when Damaine Forrester, otherwise known as Doolie, was gunned down mere metres away from where they worked.
The witness, who took the stand in the ongoing trial of 33 alleged members of the gang in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston on several charges, testified that he had been employed to the same supermarket at the time of the murder and knew the marked man who was employed as a packer for about a month before he was killed.
He said on the fateful night he had finished work sometime before 10:00 and decided to wait for his co-workers as usual before leaving the supermarket to board a taxi for Half-Way-Tree.
He said that night “the gentleman”, whose name he had forgotten, had worked the same shift.
Shown a photograph of Doolie by prosecutors, he said, “That's the gentleman.”
He said after waiting some 30 minutes for their other colleagues, he and Doolie — after being checked by the security guard — headed outside, followed by the others who were exiting as they were searched.
He told the court that it was while he and Doolie were walking shoulder to shoulder “just having a small conversation” that the unthinkable happened.
“While we were talking, I heard a loud bang in my ear, my ear started ringing and I turned to my right,” said the witness, who told the court that Doolie had been walking to his right. He said when he turned in the direction from which the bang came, he “saw him on the ground” and “heard more bangs”.
“I saw like a flash [of light] and immediately I decided to run back to the store and I started to run. I ran back right inside,” the witness recalled for the court, to the amusement of alleged gang leader Andre “Blackman” Bryan and his brother Kevaughn Green who, seated side by side, convulsed with silent laughter while eyeing each other.
According to the witness, on getting into the store he declared, “Jah know, star, what just happened?”
“I was still in shock,” he said.
The witness said, still shaken by what he had seen, he sought out his supervisors and told her, “Miss, you know seh dem shoot the brethren, di new guy out dere?” to which the supervisor reportedly replied, “A lie, a waaah gwaan?”
Under probe from the prosecutor, he said the flash he saw was like sparks and came from “the figure who was standing there or the gun he had in his hand”. He said he saw the image for only “a split second or so”.
Asked if he took notice of his downed colleague he said, “I just run, I didn't really stop to take notice.”
He said, “still in shock” he remained inside the store until the security personnel for the establishment arrived before leaving some minutes before 11:00 pm.
He said in passing the area where the shooting had taken place, he saw his former co-worker “lying at the same spot”.
Asked if he made any observations about the body he said, “No, my intention was just to head home.”
Doolie's supervisor, who took the stand later yesterday, said the young man, who was named Damaine Forrester, had been on the night shift when he was gunned down. She said she had heard the explosions after she finished balancing the cashiers that night and then was told by staff members that the employee who had been there for some “four to six months” had just been shot.
She said she immediately pulled her panic button and pressed it, summoning the security company for the supermarket. She said they arrived some 10 minutes later, followed by the police. She also identified the victim from a photograph shown to her by prosecutors as her former employee.
She further told the court that she watched from the safety of the supermarket as the police cordoned the scene and put down markers. The body of her former employee, who was clad in his uniform of white shirt and black pants, was on the ground, she added.
At the start of the trial in September when Witness Number Two, a former gang member-turned-Crown witness, first took the stand, he had said the plot for that murder had been hatched at his home. He said the “yout'” was killed because it was believed that he was running the Thompson Pen area, which was the faction of the gang controlled by incarcerated Klansman strongman Tesha Miller “and the Blackman-led faction wanted to move him”.
Witness Number One, another former-gang member-turned-Crown witness, in his testimony in early November, had told the court that he was the one to point out Doolie to his executioners.
He said Doolie, who was killed after three attempts, had been marked for death because he was said to be a member of the rival Tesha Miller faction of the Klansman gang and was also said to be related to two members of that faction.
On at least two of the three occasions, the witness said he had to discourage the trigger man from shooting in circumstances where innocent bystanders would have been hurt. He said Bryan was upset about the failure of the gang to take out the individual on the first attempt, quarrelling that “unuh call unnuh self killa and can't kill one man”.
He said on the last attempt, which took place the day after the second had failed, Doolie was killed. He said two cars with the gangsters aboard had waited until the targeted man left the supermarket that night and was about to board a taxi when “Suss pull out a gun and start to shoot him in his head. Suss was exactly back a him, he rest the gun pon him and start fire,” the witness said.
He further claimed that when “he shot Doolie in the head, he fire two shot in the air and everybody start run up an dung”.
The trial resumes this morning at 10:00.