Ward shot during escape attempt dies; told mom he was encouraged to flee
The 16-year-old ward who succumbed to gunshot injuries yesterday after he was shot while trying to escape from the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre reportedly told his mother that a staff member had encouraged him to abscond, telling...
The 16-year-old ward who succumbed to gunshot injuries yesterday after he was shot while trying to escape from the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre reportedly told his mother that a staff member had encouraged him to abscond, telling him when and how to do so.
The now-deceased Henrique Hemmings was 15 years old at the time of the incident on the morning of February 10 and celebrated his 16th birthday last week Wednesday on a hospital bed.
His mother, 55-year-old June Davis, told The Gleaner that her son made the revelation when she visited him in the hospital.
“Him tell me say, ‘Mommy, [name redacted] tell mi say him can mek mi get weh’,” she said.
“Him tell him say a in a the morning him fi go weh, and him a try go weh early in a the morning – him and one next one – and dem don’t shoot the next one. Him one dem give four shot, well mash him up,” Davis told The Gleaner.
She said that she last saw Henrique alive on Tuesday and thought he was on the road to recovery, having visited him daily since he had been admitted.
She was shocked when the call came that the seventh of her nine children had died.
“Up to yesterday (Tuesday), mi talk to him. Mi go visit him and the nurse dem tell me say him a come on. The doctor dem tell mi say the only problem dem have, him blood pressure kinda go up likkle bit, but dem can get it under control”, Davis said, revealing that her son had been shot once in the heart, once in the stomach, and twice in his legs.
She said that two weeks ago, she was informed that Henrique would be transferred to the Horizon Adult Correctional Centre, but she protested, informing them that he had not yet reached 18 years old.
The grieving mother said that she was then instructed to prove her son’s age.
It was during that process that she was told of his failed plot to escape custody.
“The 16th of February, ... mi go dung a RGD (Registrar General’s Department). Because mi couldn’t find the $6,000 to register him at birth, him never did have a age paper. But him go to basic school, all-age school and high school without a birth certificate,” she said.
Henrique had been in custody since May 2021 after he was shot during a robbery at a gas station in Red Hills, St Andrew.
Davis said that her son was taken against his will at gunpoint and forced to participate in the crime.
“Is a next guy who break down mi window and tek him through my window. Him tek out Henrique the night and I never know,” she said, adding that when she heard that two robbers had been cut down at a gas station, she, too, condemned them, not knowing that her son was a participant in the scheme.
Her son had been hiding inside the building, and while workers were cleaning up the crime scene, they heard strange sounds coming from a room and summoned the cops once more.
The police say Henrique was found with a homemade shotgun with a single round.
“Dem have him a Metcalfe from May – 10 months – and outta di 10 months, I don’t see the little boy. The only time I get to see him is when him come a court pon di Zoom court, me see him pon di TV,” she said.
Up to the time she spoke with The Gleaner, Davis had not yet notified Henrique’s siblings of his passing.
“Lord God, dem nuh hear yet. Nobody nuh hear yet. Mi just a drive a go home ya now. When me go home, a di next problem dat because right now mi nuh tan up strong,” she said.
She said that the 10 months was the longest period Henrique had spent away from home, adding that this was his first run-in with the law.
“When him birthday a me and him father go look for him. Him did happy ‘cause me a tell him a him birthday and him smile and him a say him want come home and mi say, ‘Yuh soon come home. Yuh son come home.”
Davis said that her son had informed investigators from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) of the alleged coaxing to escape.
Yesterday, the agency said that it had been advised of the fatal development and would continue its probe.
INDECOM said that no weapon was reported as recovered from the scene where Henrique was shot and that three correctional officers have been identified as discharging their weapons during the incident.
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) report that on February 10, at approximately 5:45 a.m., two wards broke out of their dormitories. One ward was caught on the compound, while Henrique made his way over the wall.
Shots were fired by the sentry officer on duty and Henrique was wounded.