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Homicide 52 Recorded

Police officers were stretched to the limit last week, after investigating seven murders – five men and two women – in what perhaps was the bloodiest week on record. The blood bath week pushed the country’s homicide count to 52 for the year – eight up over last year’s, which stood at 44 this time.

Homicide 52 took place early Saturday morning, when a 28-year-old male was gunned down on the streets of the capital. According to police, the incident reportedly occurred shortly before 2:00 a.m.

Reports indicate that the victim – a resident of St. Lucia Crescent – was at Key West, South of Cordeaux Avenue when he was approached by three men and subsequently shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Thursday evening, police found the body of a woman in bushes at the rear of a new housing development on Poinciana Drive, Pinewood Gardens. Details are still very much sketchy, but according to police foul play is suspected.

Her death marked the 51st homicide. Just a day before, authorities had their hands full investigating three murders, after 28-year-old Dean Webster, 30-year-old McKeno Brown and 28-year-old David Marshall were all gunned down in separate incidents.

Authorities said Marshall was at a car wash at Baldwin Avenue off Eden Street along with a group of people when the driver of a dark coloured vehicle pulled up next to them. Police said the people inside the car fired gunshots and Marshall was shot multiple times about the body.

He died on the scene. Just an hour earlier, Brown was killed.

Brown, the father of three, was visiting his father at his Sugar Apple Street Home in Pinewood Gardens when a man in a grey car approached him. According to police, Brown and the man got into an altercation before the man eventually opened fire.

Brown ran to the backyard of the home where he died from his injuries. Authorities say Webster was driving in a black Honda car with Free National Movement (FNM) flags on it through St. James and Kemp Roads near Corner Pocket Bar.

According to reports, people at the bar were still celebrating the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) General Election victory when someone in the crowd fired shots at Webster’s vehicle. The Second Street resident was taken to hospital in an ambulance, however died shortly after.

Meantime charges expected to be brought against three men, for Monday night’s double homicide. A mother and her son were both killed in that incident.

Forty three-year-old Brigid Williams was shot and run over by a car outside her home. Her son, 22-year-old Rashad Williams, tried to run down the vehicle but it crashed and crushed him to death.

The three men, all residents of Montell Heights, are expected to be arraigned for those murders early next week.  Meanwhile, while murders may seem commonplace today, at least one non-political advocacy group is crying out for justice and order.

Chairman of Citizens For Justice (CFJ), Bishop Walter Hanchell believes that now is the time for all stakeholders to come together and do something to bring an end to this violent spree. Pushing a message many have adopted, the CFJ called on every decent citizen to join the fight.

“The many murders are symptoms of deep rooted social problems in our nation,” Bishop Hanchell said.  “Our once peaceful people are evolving into a bitter, angry mob-like society with no value for human life or law and order.  We must address the epidemic of lawlessness that is so prevalent today.  We must find ways to deal with a generation that no longer fear or respect institutions such as the church, the police and the judiciary.”

The CFJ continues to advocate for much stiffer penalties for repeat offenders, rehabilitation for convicts, restitution for victims of crime and the implementation of the death penalty after due process has been exhausted. It also believes that those charged with murder, attempted murder and the sexual abuse of children should not be granted bail.

While it commends the churches, civic organisations, youth clubs and government agencies that provide a variety of services and programme, it is calling for more. “We believe that each church should open their doors to the neighbourhood around them and utilise their facilities as community centres for counselling, recreation, youth programmes and parenting classes,” he said.

There is also the appeal for service clubs to increase their community programmes and for banks and financial institutions to relax their policies and extend courtesies towards their clients who simply do not have sufficient income to meet their commitments as a result of conditions beyond their control.

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