Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Ring of silence surrounds cop’s murder

Published:Sunday | September 27, 2020 | 12:17 AMChristopher Serju - Senior Gleaner Writer
A police team speaking with residents on Pretoria Road in St Andrew yesterday, hours after a colleague was shot while responding to reports of gunfire in the area. He later died at hospital. One of the alleged gunmen was also killed.
A police team speaking with residents on Pretoria Road in St Andrew yesterday, hours after a colleague was shot while responding to reports of gunfire in the area. He later died at hospital. One of the alleged gunmen was also killed.

Residents of Pretoria Road off Maxfield Avenue in St Andrew, where 27-year-old Constable Kemar Francis was shot dead after a police team responded to reports of gunfire on Friday night, were tight-lipped yesterday, refusing even to acknowledge the incident when a Sunday Gleaner team visited the area.

A number of persons our news team approached declared that they were not from the area. One elderly resident said that he would have been sleeping at the time incident while another simply refused to comment.

When approached by The Sunday Gleaner, a member of a police team in the area said that he had only heard about it and had nothing else to share as a trail of blood believed to be human’s led from off Pretoria Road on to Waltham Park.

Other attempts to get an update on the incident, in one which an alleged gunman, 28-year-old Shavaugh ‘Bunwaist’ Johnson, was shot dead by the police proved futile.

The ring of silence extended to the Hunts Bay Police Station, where Francis had been assigned.

After the Sunday Gleaner reporter explained the purpose of his visit, a woman constable explained that she could not assist in any way. Asked to be directed to the investigating officer, a woman sergeant to whom the constable appealed declared that she was also unable to assist.

We were also told that Senior Superintendent Wayne Cameron, head of the St Andrew South Police, was also unable to comment.

A police release yesterday said that the officers had responded to reports of gunfire in the area shortly before midnight.

It said that the officers identified themselves on entering the community and were met with gunfire on Pretoria Road. They returned the fire. Francis, who was hit in the shoot-out, later succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment at hospital.

His death brings to four the number of police officers killed in the line of duty since June.

Commissioner of Police Antony Anderson called for the continued support of citizens and various state agencies to fix the nation’s crime problem.

“This is not in any way going to stop us,” he said. “The people out there who feel that this is the way they should go, understand that we will be coming for you, we will be looking for you, and we will do what we need to do to ensure that our country is safe.”

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Police Federation, while expressing regret, appealed to its members to be vigilant and alert and to use all legal means at their disposal in carrying out their duties and in defending themselves.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness also condemned the attack, vowing to relentlessly go after criminals.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com