All 4 in custody

FOUR men who were listed as persons of interest by the St Catherine South Police Division on Friday for the attack and stabbing of a male student of Cumberland High School in Portmore, St Catherine, on Thursday, have yielded to appeals from the police to turn themselves in.

The four Newlands, Portmore, residents are Jamiel, otherwise called Ears; a man known as EJ, both of Portmore Lane in the community; as well as “OD” from Hardware Lane; and “Okra” from Rosemary Lane.

Two of the men were said to have reported to the police with their mothers.

Superintendent of Police Hopeton Nicholson, who is in charge of operations for St Catherine South Police Division, said on Friday that the stabbing allegedly stemmed from a dispute at Cumberland High School.

“Based on the information received so far, the St Catherine South Police have commenced investigations into the incident which resulted in the serious wounding of a student. Information received indicates that students had a dispute prior to Thursday and this incident on Thursday involved persons who are not affiliated to the school. The child was attacked as a reprisal,” the senior cop said on Friday.

Nicholson issued an appeal to residents not to impede the investigations and warned that they should not practise taking matters into their own hands when squabbles involving children arise.

“We appeal to residents to allow the police to conduct the investigation. The child is in hospital in serious condition but is stable. The police will do everything in their power to conduct the investigation in a professional way so that justice can be served. The report came to us sometime after 5:00 pm and we commenced our investigation immediately on Thursday. We learned that it was close to 3:00 pm that the incident took place.

“We have to continue monitoring and we implore people from the various communities not to get involved in disputes that children have with each other. We are aware that the school administrators are working very hard to offer counselling and guidance to the students, and we implore the adults to let the students be students. When conflict arises, the responsible agencies must come together to deal with these issues.

“The police will continue to monitor the various schools and incidents and we hope that we will not have a repeat,” said Nicholson. “We met with the school’s administrators as well as the person in charge of safety and security in schools. The meeting was fruitful and they will be treating with some of the issues that impact the school,” he added.

Prior to the men turning themselves in on Friday, People’s National Party (PNP) councillor of the Southborough Division Ainsley Parkins told journalists that the best thing for the men do was to make themselves available for questioning, as they had nowhere to run for refuge and therefore would be easily caught by the police.

“I talk to these young men from time to time. It is really sad. I don’t think they have much space to run, so eventually they have to go in to the police. The police will know where they are because people are going to make them aware. The incident took place outside of the Cumberland High School, which is out of my division but the young men live within my division,” Parkins said.

“Since there is footage of their involvement, their parents should ensure that these young men turn themselves in to the police so the law can take its course. As a local government practitioner, I would know everyone living in the area,” he had said.

The incident came one week after eight-year-old Danielle Rowe was murdered after being abducted from outside the Braeton Primary and Infant School in Portmore, St Catherine. She was later found in St Andrew with her throat slashed. Rowe was assisted to hospital, where she died last Saturday. Police have since released the sketch of a woman who is believed to have abducted the girl.

To date, no one has been held in connection with her murder.