The security forces are continuing to maintain their presence in several communities in Westmoreland as they blamed Tuesday’s series of murders on gang fued being driven by lottery scamming.
Seven persons, including a woman and her two-year-old son, were shot dead by gunmen in the Grange Hill area between 7 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. yesterday.
The shootings have resulted in the disruption of classes at the Grange Hill High School with the school reporting low student attendance. The communities in and around the Grange Hill area are also said to be tense, with reports of persons seeking residence elsewhere.
In a release the police’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) revealed that “inter-gang feud has resulted in the murders of seven persons, including two children, and the injuring of eight others in separate incidents in Sterling District and Top Lincoln, Westmoreland, on Tuesday, May 1.”
The release explained that “the police have attributed the most recent flare up of violence to an inter and intra-gang feud in the parish, some of which is related to the illicit lottery scamming that has accounted for a large percentage of the murders, shootings and other violent crimes committed in the parish.”
Head of the parish’s police, Superintendent Gary McKenzie, has strongly condemned the “brutal slayings” and extended his condolences to relatives and friends of those slain by “ruthless gangsters”.
“No effort will be spared in bringing the killer/s to justice. Our future leaders are being brutally slain. I am appealing to the citizens to desist from providing a safe haven for these criminals, and for the citizens of Jamaica to unite and help in the fight against crime,” McKenzie was quoted as saying in the police statement.
Superintendent McKenzie has also given his assurance to residents that there will be special focus on the areas of Sterling District, Top Lincoln, Kings Valley, Little London and Frome in the parish in order to “mitigate the threat to public safety.”
Meanwhile, the police are appealing to anyone who may have information about the incidents to contact the Morgans Bridge Police at 955-1375, Crime Stop at 311, police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.