Heavily armed thugs believed to be linked to the Bedward Gardens community in St Andrew on Wednesday launched an attack on a resident of August Town Road, coinciding with the second anniversary of the death of their cronies.
The men reportedly used the cover of darkness and a wooded hillside to access a property at 38 August Town Road, where they shot and injured a man said to be in his early 20s about 8:30 p.m.
The injured man then ran into a house as the thugs continued firing before retreating down the steep hillside.
Residents told The Gleaner that they had been anticipating an attack during the day as March 30 marked the anniversary of the deaths of two men, former lieutenants of the infamous Bedward Gardens gang, known to them by their aliases ‘Drocula Screamers’ and ‘Little Speng’.
The two men were killed in 2020 while travelling along August Town Road.
“Mi did deh pon di edge because me hear from the day before say a di memorial. ... You would of think say a New Year’s Eve last night. Everybody come in a the shop since morning, me tell dem ‘Happy New Year’,” said one shopkeeper, comparing the hail of bullets to the common yet illegal gun salutes used to ring in the new year annually.
The injured man, reportedly struck in the hip by a bullet, was still hospitalised up to yesterday.
Bullet holes were visible on the walls and doors as well as a trail of bloodstains leading from the bedroom door to the front gate.
The residents expressed shock at the brazenness at the attack.
“Di man dem serious. A good enough steep climb to come up in a di night without light. A so man serious fi do weh dem want do,” a resident said.
Another member of the community expressed concern that the attackers seemed to have marked their target as no other person was being dragged into the conflict.
“Dem nah jus fire wild shot pon any and everybody. Dem go fi who dem a go fa. That is what I see in the killings bout ya. To di amount a man weh come last night and the people on the road if they wanted to kill [it would have been a massacre],” the resident said.
Before the shooting, the thugs reportedly confiscated an elderly resident’s phone before placing the device on airplane mode and returning it.
“Dem pull down a hat in a him face and tell him, ‘Don’t move. Yuh good’,” a resident said.
Papine Division Councillor Venesha Phillips told The Gleaner yesterday that despite the recent lifting of COVID-19 nightly curfews, residents of August Town have been unable to enjoy night-life.
“I was hoping that the people of August Town would have been able to breathe … . I am still hoping to get to the root of what is happening there. I was in touch with the police while I was there, and I have been speaking to the citizens to get a better understanding,” Phillips said.
“I am only too familiar with August Town that when you hear a story in this instance, you have to test and try the information that you get to ensure that those who are responsible don’t spread propaganda and send you in another direction,” the councillor said.
Phillips said that she had no facts to support claims that the attack was tied to the anniversary of the death of the two men in 2020.