Even as COVID-19 continues to be a growing threat across the island, forcing a lull to most serious crimes, criminals in the West refuse to be outdone, striking on multiple occasions and snuffing out the lives of six persons in seven days, leaving shock, fear and anguish in their wake.
The murders were carried out between April 21 and 28, with the parish of St. James accounting for three, the latest being on Tuesday morning, April 28.
The victims have been identified as 21-year-old Neville Anthony Gooden Jnr., also known as ‘Dwayne’ and ‘Papa’, a gas delivery driver of a Birch Hill address in St. James; 19-year-old Warren Kellier of a Kingsgate address, and 24-year-old Kernardo Arthurs, otherwise called ‘Mackie’, a delivery man of Tucker Irwin.
Shockwaves of disbelief gripped a lively community in Green Pond, St. James, following the gruesome and daring daylight killing of a young popular gas deliveryman in a section of the community known as ‘Green Heights’, on Wednesday (April 22) by unknown assailants.
Reports from the Mount Salem Police are that about 11:30 a.m. on the morning mentioned, Gooden received a call to deliver cooking gas to a section of Green Pond Mews.
Upon his arrival in his familiar red pick-up van, according to reports, he was approached by several men armed with firearms.
He was shot several times to the head and died along the roadway, with a gas cylinder, now with police for forensic evidence, just metres from his side, with his vehicle parked. His attackers reportedly escaped from the area on foot.
It’s understood that Gooden received nine (9) shots.
Good Jnr.’s mother, Annie, displaying great strength and courage, told the Western Mirror that as a Christian, in dealing with the death of her son, her strength comes from God, church and community members, as well as close friends near and far.
“Is God alone can give me the strength to go on; I have had sleepless nights since, but I’m holding on,” she said.
Annie, who spoke fondly of her youngest son of two, revealed that the victim’s father is not coping well. “He cries a lot and struggles to eat. He has yet to come to terms with what has happened.”
The former Rusea’s High and Farm Primary and Junior High attendee – Gooden Jnr., would have turned 22 in August.
“He was such a delightful son to have – full of manners, jovial, people-friendly, and a lover of fry chicken, music, the beach, skating, and girls. He loved girls,” his mother shared fondly. “He was not a problem child and loved being happy. He just loved his music and food. He loved to save because he had big plans – big, big plans. He always kept telling me ‘Something soon come your way, mommy,’” she remembered.
Recalling the day her son lost his life, with composure, Annie shared that the two had talked about preparing kidney, callaloo and rice for him. That conversation turned out to be their last. She said he had been at a garage when he got the call to go and make that fateful delivery.
The police have already ruled out robbery as a motive for the killing, according to Annie, as the money on his person was retrieved and handed over to her.
The police are appealing to anyone with information, which could lead to the apprehension of the persons involved, to call/contact them at 876-952-3572 or call the police’s 119 number.
Meanwhile, Rosevale Housing Scheme, in the upscale community of Rhyne Park, was the scene of the killing of 19-year-old Kellier.
Kellier, of a Kingsgate address, was gunned down by unknown assailants sometime on Friday morning, April 24.
According to information gleaned from the Barrett Town Police, shortly after 8 a.m. on the mentioned day, Kellier was standing along the roadway when he was approached and attacked by two men.
One was reportedly armed with a machete and the other a hand gun.
He was shot several times and was later taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
In the case of Arthurs, according to the Montego Bay Police, about 5:35 p.m., residents heard explosions and summoned them. On arrival, Arthurs was seen lying in his yard with gunshot wounds. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.