‘I was going to die trying’ - Maternal instinct drives woman inspector to save family from three gunmen

It was maternal instinct more than anything else that spurred Woman Inspector Allison Grant-Johnson into action on the night of September 26, 2017, when the piercing screams of her daughter alerted her to three gunmen who invaded her home at around 8:20 p.m.

Johnson’s daughter had gone outside shortly before to dispose of garbage when the hoodlums held her at gunpoint and made their way inside.

“She would have alerted me by three screams of ‘mommy, mommy, mommy,’ that I’ll never forget as long as I live. When I heard it, I realised that this wasn’t normal so I drew my firearm because I recognised that I was under attack and in no time I saw guns and I just did what I had to do,” Johnson recounted to The Gleaner yesterday at the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards at King’s House, St Andrew.

Johnson, a mother of four and a 21-year veteran of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), was conferred with the Medal of Honour for Gallantry for displaying extraordinary bravery in defence of her family.

Despite being toward the end of the lengthy programme, the narrative of her heroics that night was met with thunderous applause by the hundreds who gathered on the lawns of King’s House.

EMOTIONAL SCARS WILL LAST LONGER

After drawing her service pistol and contesting in a shoot-out with the gunmen, Johnson discovered that she had a gunshot wound to her upper right arm.

Two of her daughters were also shot during the ordeal, one as many as three times.   

“The emotional scars will last a little longer than the physical ones,” she stated.

“I really thought I was going to die but I said to myself ‘I was going to die trying,’” shared Johnson, who disclosed that she had previously discharged her service pistol only once when she came under gunfire while working in Kingston Central some time ago.

“I believe the police, the woman, and especially the mother in me just came together in those moments and the Christ that is also in me protected me and I just thank God that I am here and the outcome was how it was because it could have been very different,” reasoned Johnson, who prides herself on being a devout Christian.

She further encouraged parents to be on the alert at all times, even in the comfort of their homes.

NOTHING TOPS THIS - ATKINSON

Two-hundred and six persons were recognised for their service to the nation at this year’s National Honours and Awards ceremony.

The list was headed by renowned singer, songwriter and actor, Harry Belafonte, who could not be present for the event. The 91-year-old earned the Order of Merit, the country’s fourth highest award, for his outstanding contribution in the field of music.

Standout Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson was also among the honourees. She was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) for outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming and being the first black woman to win a World Championship Title.

“I don’t think anything else that I’ve done so far tops it,” Atkinson told The Gleaner.


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