Police constable’s shooting death during robbery ruled justified by Coroner’s Court
A SPECIAL Coroner’s Court has ruled that the shooting death of a police constable who met his demise in a bar by one of his colleagues in Hopewell, Hanover, during a robbery, was a lawful killing.
The police constable, K’Mar Beckford, who was stationed in Westmoreland at the Bethel Town Police Station at the time of his death, was shot in 2015 by retired Detective Inspector Wayne Jacobs, who was a patron at the bar at the time of the robbery.
Findings of the case, which were sent to the courts in April 2022, were read by Parish Court Judge Carol Hughes during the inquest in Lucea on Friday morning, seven years after the shooting made the headlines.
The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) concluded in 2015 that Jacobs should not face criminal charges. However, their recommendation at the time was for the matter to be referred to the Coroner’s Court for a determination as to whether an inquest was necessary.
Evidence at the time, INDECOM said, indicated that Beckford was shot dead while committing aggravated robbery at Lorna’s Bar and Grill in the parish.
Inspector Jacobs was reportedly shot three times during the shootout, while another patron was shot once.
According to reports, shortly after 1 a.m. on April 2, 2015, Beckford, who was wearing a mask, entered the bar in Hopewell with a gun in hand, and began robbing patrons. He was challenged by the off-duty policeman, who returned fire.
Beckford died on the spot.
The police constable was fingered in several robberies in the parishes of Hanover, and St Elizabeth where he resided.
At the time of his death, an eyewitness told The Gleaner that had the detective inspector not challenged Beckford, it would have been a case of mass murder inside the bar.
“Once the shooting started it was like going through a minefield,” said the man who escaped unharmed.
Elated that he has been exonerated, Jacobs told The Gleaner on Friday that he knew he had done nothing wrong.
“I was just protecting myself and the persons who were in the bar,” said Jacobs.
Some six patrons were in the bar during the incident.
He said the police department investigated the incident and he was vindicated then, but it was the norm for it to go to the Coroner’s Court.
The former inspector was represented by Montego Bay attorney-at-law Henry McCurdy, who said justice has been served and his client is now able to move on with his life.
“He has always stressed his innocence and that his actions were lawful,” said McCurdy, shortly after leaving court on Friday.