Jackson’s younger brother was killed about 10:45 pm on Thursday. While he had a calm and solid demeanour initially, he broke down in tears when he began relating how he knew that would’ve been his brother’s tragic fate.
His brother, 25-year-old Shammar Fletcher, is reported to have been involved in a shoot-out on Third Street in Trench Town, which resulted in his death, and that of Corporal Oliver Mullings, who was a part of a team from the Kingston Western Police Division. The cops were reportedly responding to a call in the area due to gang feuds, when they were attacked by gunmen believed to be members of ‘Federal Gang’ in Rema.
“I can tell anybody this; I was seeing this coming,” Jackson told the Jamaica Observer while crying.
“I saw it coming, but I couldn’t do nothing but pray. I never see it coming so quickly [though]… I will always love my brother. My brother always check up on me, and I always check up on him, no matter where I am. That’s all I have to say,” he continued.
The police have not confirmed whether Fletcher, who has a six-year-old son, was a member of Federal Gang. Investigators said that another man who was involved in the shoot-out escaped.
According to sources, the police entered a yard on Third Street and were shot at.
Friday afternoon, blood stains were seen on a tree, where Fletcher is said to have bled out, and on the steps outside the yard.
Meanwhile, Jackson laughed when he was told that his brother was hailed as ‘Pastor Fletcher’ by his peers during his high school years, because of how he carried himself, and his dedication to church.
The grieving brother related that Fletcher had the same personality at home in his earlier years, and questioned what engendered the fate-defining change.
“Fletcher is a yute that always was the good one in our family. Fletcher is a yute that always try to make the family happy. My brother has 16 subjects,” Jackson told the Sunday Observer of the former Calabar High School outstanding student.
“My community is a community where you have to be strong. If you are not strong in this community things like these will happen. Fletcher is a yute who grew up in the community from him a baby. My mother grow five of us with Fletcher. We sleep on one bed and we never have a problem with that. My mother grow Fletcher very good. Anything that is nice, that is Fletcher.”
When Fletcher’s mother, Michelle, returned from work Friday afternoon, she was a woman of just a few words.
“Mi nuh suppose to bury no child. A dem fi bury me,” she told the Sunday Observer.
She later shared that her son had plans to join the police force about three years ago, “but when they come here to do background check, the people dem [residents] tell them otherwise.”
Jackson added that he recognised a “change” as Fletcher got older.
“Fletcher always take telling [as a youngster] but from Fletcher turn adult, no one can talk to Fletcher. Fletcher is a yute that go to church, baptised, so I don’t know what happened with Fletcher. I don’t know if the community make Fletcher like this. You have to fight to live for your life in certain communities. I can tell you, if you don’t stand up strong, people push you to do things that you don’t want to do and a just that I feel reach my brother,” he said.
In an emotional admission, Jackson told the Sunday Observer that after running afoul of the law several times he had hoped his brother would have used him as an example of what not to do.
“My brother never learned from my mistakes. I went to jail several times and I warned my brother that that place is not a nice place. I came from jail last year. I did five years behind bars for a murder that they accused me of. But it is the Almighty and my brother prayer and my family prayer that made me free,” he said.
“People push him around, telling him to do this, that, and all these things. My brother go to jail one time and I look on him and tell him ‘You need to learn, you need to sit back and look into yourself.’ But sometimes it’s just how life goes.”
But Fletcher’s younger sister Sachin Oliver has a very hard time accepting reality.
“He’s my mother’s third child, and I am the fourth one, so when the other two departed, it was me and him. We go to school together, we go to church together, he got baptised and was in church for a couple of years. He went to school and did his subjectsâ€¦ he actually has 16 subjects. We have some great moments and memories that we shared. I am the person that wash his clothes. Whenever he wants something, is me him reach out to and all of those stuff,” the 19-year-old told the Sunday Observer.
Oliver said she doesn’t know what to say about her brother’s death, or how to take it.
“It’s not an easy one for me because he was somebody that is always there for me, somebody that I can talk to. Even with my school work and all of those stuff he is the person I look up to. It’s not easy right now. For me now, I don’t know where I stand. I’m in a phase where I’m still in shock. Nothing nuh really hit me yet to say him really dead. Mi just haffi see him myself fi reality hit me.”
As she awaits peace, she clings to memories.
“It affects me in many different ways. There are flashes of memories that we shared together, especially the ones where we are going to church and all of that, me coming from school and him helping me with my homework. The bond got thicker in adult life, when we started sharing one another thoughts and all of that,” she said.
Former executive director of Kingston Restoration Company (KRC) Morin Seymour told the Sunday Observer that Fletcher’s case is a prime example of what he has been shedding light on for years in inner-city communities.
“We are losing our young men. Gangs are not targeting the dunce ones. They are targeting the ones that are bright. They are targeting the ones that are capable of thinking,” he said.
Seymour said youngsters living in inner-city communities are caught in a vicious battle against crime, as they are constantly being recruited by gangs.
The KRC was formed in response to the dramatic economic and social deterioration of downtown Kingston in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. The company then established the Inner Kingston Development Project in 1986, a 10-year urban economic and physical development initiative which assisted many inner-city children with schooling and employment.
Seymour, chairman of Central Branch All-Age School, added, “I am speaking from experience from working in the inner city. Historically, the bad men have used the young boys. The boys, ages eight to 10 years, those are the ones I’m worried about. The bigger ones can reason a bit and so on, so they can escape that. The younger boys get trapped.”