Correctional officer was on official duty
Romar Bent, the 22-year-old correctional officer shot by soldiers along Main Street in Bog Walk, St Catherine, January 30, was in fact on official duties at the time.
"He was on official duties; picking up staff in line with his capacity as a driver," the Department of Correctional Services told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Bent, who joined the department in September 2013, was described as a promising young man who possessed the right attitude which made a model correctional officer.
"We emphatically state that at the time of death, correctional officer Romar Bent was on official duties," the department reiterated.
Responsible and reliable, it was Bent's dedication to the job which saw him returning to official duties after staying away off the job for only one of the three days of sick leave prescribed by a medical doctor, THE WEEKEND STAR also learnt.
His promising career was cut short on the ill-fated night that the young man, who was assigned to the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre in St Catherine, stopped to buy a fried fish meal when an altercation with two members of the Jamaica Defence Force started.
Bent, who was armed with a service 9mm Browning pistol, was shot dead, and Jason Barrett, a 27-year-old vendor of Princess Field in Linstead, St Catherine, injured in the upper left shoulder.
Preliminary police reports suggest that an argument started after Bent and another licensed firearm holder tried to place their orders ahead of the two soldiers. As the altercation escalated, one of the soldiers, also armed with his service revolver, and the correctional officer both drew their firearms.
The soldier fired at Bent who ran off and collapsed some distance away, after which the soldier retrieved the firearm that was later handed over to the police. At that time, the soldier reportedly told the police that Bent had tried to rob them.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force and Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) are investigating the shooting death.