Tue | May 30, 2023

Comfort residents hopeful for peace

Published:Monday | June 7, 2021 | 12:08 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Superintendent of Police Gary Francis with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and other stakeholders in Comfort district during a walk-through in the community in a bid to restore peace last Thursday.
Superintendent of Police Gary Francis with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and other stakeholders in Comfort district during a walk-through in the community in a bid to restore peace last Thursday.

COMFORT, Manchester:

The Manchester police are still on the hunt for persons of interest, approximately 25 individuals, from Comfort district in the parish, as they maintain a heavy presence in the area.

Just over a week ago, following a shooting incident and the murder of a resident, Shawn Pryce, a 43-year-old mechanic, the security forces did a walk-through of the area in an effort to restore calm. Since then, the area has been heavily policed and 24-hour patrols are expected to continue indefinitely.

Pryce’s murder on Saturday, May 22, at approximately 11: 30 p.m. at his home, followed an incident which happened two days prior where one man was shot and injured. The police believe both incidents are related as the area is known for reprisals.

“Historically, Comfort is a community that is known for reprisals and the fact that these two incidents occurred, we have to have a strong presence there,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Lloyd Darby. “It is putting a strain on us operationally, but we have to have a presence there while we do investigations to bring the perpetrators in.”

Darby informed that several persons have been taken in for questioning in relation to Pryce’s murder, but no arrests have yet been made.

He added that a number of individuals named as persons of interest have since come forward and provided useful information for the police. Darby said he could not immediately give the number of persons from the list who have since visited the station.

HOPING FOR PEACE

Residents in the community say they are hoping that peace will return to the area and that it won’t be short-lived

“ I have been living here for the past six years, and for the past few years I have been on edge. When you have a flare-up your normally have one after, and then by the next few weeks you have another. Then it does down and everything goes back to normal, and the cycle repeats,” said a resident who requested not to be named, to ensure safety.

The resident revealed that persons are no longer able to live fearlessly, as criminals have made the area their playground.

FRIENDS AND WAR

“I used to sit outside on a nightly basis, especially in the summer when it’s so hot. Now, you can’t do it... you don’t know when something is going to happen.. It happens so suddenly, too, and it’s just one after the other. Either is gang related or friend and company in a war. One man do something and another man kill him ... “

Happy that the police are now intensifying operations in the area, a business owner stated that the strong police presence may serve as a deterrent to criminals.

“It would be safer for the place because as soon as you things get to normal , you hear ‘bout some other crime. If the police are here and stay here, the criminals nah go come out and do certain things.”

The business owner added that though she understands the force with which police will have to carry out their operations, she requested that unnecessary hostility be avoided.

“You know, sometimes when they come in an area, they use one person’s action to judge everybody. Sometimes they would come aggressive and deal with us a certain way to get information, but sometimes we nuh know nothing ‘bout the incident... . So I just want them to come in and work with us, and we will work with them the best way we know how.”