St James closes in on 100 murders

After a weekend of brazen gun attacks that left four people dead, St James, one of three western parishes blanketed by a state of emergency, is close to recording 100 murders this year.

One murder was recorded last Friday, one on Sunday and two yesterday, pushing the total number of homicides in the parish to 91 since the start of the year. This is a 26 per cent jump when compared with the 67 murders recorded in St James over the corresponding period last year, according to police statistics.

With eight months gone in the year, police data show that 897 persons have been murdered in Jamaica this year, 12 more than were recorded over the similar period last year.

Among the victims of this weekend’s rampage in St James is popular businessman Andrew ‘Andy’ Chin, who was killed at his business place.

Vardian Banton, also called ‘Jason’, 20; Conrad Lawrence, 29; and a still-unidentified man were also murdered.

The police say Lawrence, who is from the community of Belfont, was surprised by a group of armed men as he entered his home.

“They opened fire and he ran to another house in the area, where he collapsed and later died,” a police report said.

Banton, who resided in Glendevon, was reportedly shot and killed shortly after midnight on Sunday by unknown assailants in the community of Guts Bottom.

Belfont was the scene of another murder yesterday. The police say the unidentified man was shot and killed there shortly after 10 a.m. by unknown assailants.


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