Gunshot sounds scaring our kids - Females residents fear gang war will affect back-to-school preparations

August 15, 2017
Police officers on the scene of a shooting.

Female residents of Fitzgerald Avenue in the Maxfield community are expressing fear and frustration in light of a bloody gang violence putting a damper on their back-to-school preparations and safety of their children.

Saturday, August 12, will be etched in their minds for a long time, as the area recorded one of the bloodiest days in recent times when six people were shot, four fatally.

Dead are 16-year-old Richard Burton, 32-year-old Kevin Tailor, 19-year-old Romaye 'Messi' Nesbeth, and Vincent Bryan.

Sydra Campbell*, a resident, told our news team that crime is nothing new to the community, but the timing of this outbreak has dire consequences.

Campbell said: "Right now a back to school we a look bout, and getting the kids out for September. This war thing needs to stop. We nuh want dead or anything happen to the children. It need to stop."

According to Campbell, they need the help of the authorities to quell the violence, which has the tendency to run until year end.

Another resident, Trudy Bennett*, told THE STAR that "The sound of gunshot frightening, and it traumatise the pickney dem. Dem nuh want to come out and they have to look to go back to school."




Another female resident told our news team that things were already looking bleak, and this latest incident is only making things worse.

"Three weeks time a school. We need fi go town go buy book, bag and shoes. Shot a fire now, people affi stay in. That nuh mek sense cause the pickney dem a go suffer. We need soldiers inna the place fi mek some a dem boy ya put down the gun," she told THE STAR.

Superintendent Authur Brown, head of the St Andrew South Police Division, who visited the community after the shooting on Saturday, has linked the shootings to gang violence in the area.

"If you don't want to talk to the police, talk to your political representatives. Tell them what you know," he said to a gathering of mostly female residents.

Brown also told the residents that the police have been patrolling the community and will do all that is possible to apprehend the killers.

However, the residents were not convinced that things would improve.

"Every time as the police dem gone, people a dead. How comes? We want some soldier pitch tent and bring back the place," a woman was overheard telling the police.

Newly elected standard-bearer for the constituency, Dr Angela Brown Burke, who also toured the space after the shootings, told our news team that she is willing to gather the information from the residents.

"I will talk to the police and I won't call any names, so you can tell me what is happening," she told the residents who said they were fearful of being targeted.

*Names changed by request

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