HAGUE SETTLEMENT, Trelawny — The killing of three men during a clash with police and soldiers from the Operation Resilience II team, during an illegal party in this part of western Jamaica during the wee hours of Saturday morning, has left residents shell-shocked.
A member of the Jamaica Defence Force team was shot and injured during the confrontation.
According to acting commander of the Trelawny Police Division, Deputy Superintendent of Police Winston Milton, about 2:00 am a joint police/military team which was in the area came under gunfire from individuals who were in attendance at the party, while it was in full swing.
The security personnel responded with gunfire and when the exchange ended, four men, including a soldier, were shot.
DSP Milton also disclosed that illegal firearms were seized during the operation.
He added that a number of residents were also taken into custody “on reasonable suspicion” so as to assist a probe by members of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).
“Members of [the] police and military team, acting under Operation Resilience II, were on patrol in the area when they were shot at by criminal gunmen at an illegal party. Four persons were injured, three fatally. One member of the JDF received gunshot injury in the community,” DSP Milton told the Jamaica Observer.
He, however, did not reveal the number of firearms seized, noting that an investigation was in progress.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang described the incident as “a reflection of the level of organised gangsterism that is out there that the police have to deal with”.
“All were heavily armed. The three who were impacted died with their arms,” Dr Chang said. “The police need to be commended. It took high-quality intelligence, good police work to identify these kind criminals that we have out there.”
The police did not release the identity of the deceased but a grief-stricken Tamara Mitchell said one of the deceased was her son, Oshane Surgeon, also called “Primenta”.
She said her son was not involved in any criminal activities, pointing out that he is a chef who always cooks at parties in and around the community.
“I got a phone call from work that my son is dead. He was a loving person. He was a chef and he cooked for everybody. When them have party, is him dem call. Is a quiet little boy; him have manners. If him pass you 10 times, him call to you. Dem kill mi baby,” she wailed.
Members of the Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM) were at the scene early Saturday morning probing the incident.
“We are currently investigating the circumstances under which three men were shot and injured by the police here in Hague. A soldier of the JDF was also shot and injured,” Errol Chattoo, director of complaints at the Western Regional Office of INDECOM, told the Sunday Observer.
A number of curious onlookers who swarmed the area behind the police yellow tape were tight-lipped about the incident. Some were, however, spotted talking in hushed tones.
In June of 2010 the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited, in collaboration with the Port Authority of Jamaica and the Urban Development Corporation, relocated over 100 families who were occupying lands known as Dump, in Falmouth, to Hague Settlement.
This relocation exercise became necessary to facilitate developments in the town for the accommodation of a new cruise ship pier.