Businessman latest victim in Whitehall bloodbath
Well-known St Andrew businessman Craig ‘Sprinta’ Gooden became the latest murder victim of the violence gripping the Plum Lane, Whitehall Avenue area of St Andrew yesterday morning, days after three persons were shot, one fatally.
Head of the St Andrew North Police Division, Senior Superintendent Aaron Fletcher, told The Gleaner on Thursday that the ongoing feud is believed to have arisen from conflict among criminals over a missing or stolen illegal firearm.
“This has resulted in a split within the groups in the community, we believe, although we cannot precisely say that this latest killing is in relation to that,” Fletcher said.
The commanding officer also theorised that the criminal network is using ill-gotten gains to purchase weaponry.
“We know that the players there are deeply involved in scamming. It is the gains that they used from lottery scamming to finance these activities, including the purchasing of illegal firearms,” Fletcher said.
According to reports, at approximately 7:35 a.m., the 39-year-old Gooden, who is also known as ‘Runner’, was in the process of opening his Sprinta Auto parts shop at the corner of Cockborn Lane and Whitehall Avenue, when he was pounced upon by gunmen, who fired several shots in his direction.
Gooden, who received gunshot wounds to his abdomen, ran, but fell metres away from the shop.
He was rushed to hospital, where his death was confirmed.
Residents converged at the crime scene as detectives from the Constant Spring CIB combed the area for clues.
A resident told The Gleaner that the latest act of violence will “add salt to injury”.
“Sprinter a man weh everybody know. Him run him business and it sad seh the violence reach right here so … . Mi can tell you seh it nah stop here so. People dem know what going on. Fren dem know each other, and if you can’t catch Quacko, you know how it go,” the resident said, invoking a popular Jamaican saying. “Mi vex how the community a crumble.”
Several persons have been murdered in recent weeks in sections of Whitehall Avenue, including in the Plum Lane and Collins Close areas.
On December 29, Trey ‘Spliffy’ Beckford, who was widely known in the area and whose name has been mentioned in song by dancehall artiste Skillibeng in his worldwide hit Crocodile Teeth, died in controversial circumstances.
The Gleaner understands he was fatally shot on Collins Close, possibly by persons known to him.
Beckford’s murder was followed by the first shooting death in the police division for 2022 – that of 42-year-old Shomari Powell on Sunday. Two other persons were injured in that attack.
St Andrew North had gone the first two weeks of the year without a homicide, a fall from the three recorded over the first 15 days of 2021.