2 GUNMEN CUT DOWN IN MIDDAY STREET BATTLE WITH POLICE
JamaicaEye helps cops corner gunmen 13 minutes after brazen murderTuesday, May 11, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
It took the police a mere 13 minutes, using the JamaicaEye closed-circuit TV network, to apprehend three gunmen after they killed a businessman on Old Hope Road in St Andrew and took his firearm, around midday yesterday.
The criminals, travelling in a white Toyota Axio motor car, were confronted at the busy Hope and Trafalgar roads intersection. Police said they were forced to open fire after the men engaged them in heavy traffic.
The firefight resulted in two of the gunmen being shot dead. One of them, the police said, ran into the nearby Abbey Court apartment complex but was chased and held. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A third, who was also shot, eventually escaped in the back of a van, a police source told the Jamaica Observer last night. Police believe he is badly injured.
According to the source, he escaped when the cops chased his crony.
Police reported that two Glock 9mm pistols were seized following the shootout which created a traffic snarl.
The gunmen had shot dead 48-year-old Robert Fletcher at his Traveller's Rest Sports Bar at 74 Old Hope Road, near Swallowfield, approximately 11:50 am. The Observer was unable to determine at press time what route they had taken in their effort to escape. However, with the use of JamaicaEye, the police were able to corner the killers at 12:03 pm.
According to Fletcher's relatives, he had rented the location from his mother to run the bar and was frequently plagued by extortionists.
The gunmen robbed him of cash and his licensed firearm before shooting him in the head.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, responding to the incident, said: “It was a very good example of how we are using technology, and shows what technology can do to disrupt criminal activities, especially in the urban areas.
“By virtue of the surveillance cameras... the New Kingston Mobile Patrol One moved in and the Quick Response Team (QRT) responded. The men shot at the police, and the police, who are well-trained, responded and two were fatally shot,” added Chang.
He pointed out that the Corporate Area QRT, which was recently launched, is not yet at its capacity, but he expects it to continue to have an impact on crime in the future.
Chang's point about the effectiveness of the technology was supported by head of the St Andrew Central Police Division Senior Superintendent Marlon Nesbeth, who was at the scene in the aftermath of the firefight.
“If today was an indication, then I must say JamaicaEye is working. Let's face it, we have had very good results prior to now. It is a very good idea,” he said.
JamaicaEye was launched in March 2018 to monitor public spaces across the island and assist authorities in responding to incidents of disaster, accident and acts of criminality.
Nesbeth said that after the three men killed Fletcher the police were quickly alerted and started mobilising to intercept the getaway vehicle.
“With the aid of JamaicaEye technology they were able to do it right here. The police were trying to stop them [but] the men came out of the vehicle firing,” Nesbeth explained.
The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) sent at least two investigators to process the scene.
A female security guard posted at a business establishment near where the shoot-out occurred said she was startled by the gunfire.
“Mi nuh really know nuh more than mi siddung inna di guard house and hear a barrage a shot. Whole heap! When mi hear the first set, mi stand up and a look fi see if nobody a run or so, but mi nuh see nobody,” she said.
“Then mi hear a second barrage and then mi see the traffic standstill and mi see taxi a turn up the road, and so on. Mi hear seh two man dead but mi can't tell you because mi never see,” she said.
According to a vendor who claimed he was at the scene, when the Axio reached the Abbey Court apartments perimeter wall just on Trafalgar Road, all three men alighted from the vehicle “and start shoot”.
“It come een like about 100 rounds — Blow! Blow! Blow! Police corner one a dem and lick him. One run and get weh,” he said.
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