Gang war leaves children traumatised
Violence has divided the area known as Capture, a section of Waterhouse, which now mirrors a ghost town.
The sounds of emergency service vehicles now seem to be the beat of the once vibrant community.
Our news team visited the area yesterday where residents cried for help.
Ann*, a mother of four, said her home was first shot up and razed by thugs on Tuesday.
She said: "My baby was inside there when dem light it. Dem put mi at a great setback. Everything lost, nothing nuh come out the fire. Mi lose every furniture, everything. My kids only have the clothes on their back."
She said she had no idea why the thugs targeted her house.
To add to her despair, she had to be comforting her youngest daughter who was traumatised.
She told THE WEEKEND STAR: "Mi daughter a bawl. She a say mommy we a go dead and mi a seh: 'No baby, we nah go dead'. Dem come and dem a gas the place. Me baby start cry and mi a say: 'God do cover mi kids dem'. A who tell di baby dem fi go bawl? A dem time deh dem start fling shot inna di house."
THE WEEKEND STAR understands that all the occupants managed to run out after the thugs left the premises, some with minor burns and other injuries.
BABY A BAWL
"Even if you come fi burn the place, but gunshot and yuh hear a baby a bawl? Oh god man. Mi affi a hold her mouth and a suh she a tremble," Ann said, while crying.
According to residents, the ongoing war is older than three years old and they have trust issues with the police.
Superintendent Gary Francis, head of the St Andrew South police said: "I went there yesterday (Wednesday) with some policing efforts, myself, and about 20 officers. In recent times, we have seen issues where citizens in the community are supporting their side of the community."
THE WEEKEND STAR was told that Top and Bottom Capture are divided.
"Those communities can be challenging because factions are supporting their sides. The police can't get the truth, so we have to effectively police the space. Gunmen in the area have been trading bullets. The last three weeks we have recovered an AK-47, AR-14, M16, and a .357 magnum. As recent as Tuesday, we seized a quantity of ammunition from a young man," he said.
Francis said the police would be taking a "multidimensional approach" to tackling the issues and would "heavily depend on citizens".
"We understand there may be trust issues or lack thereof. Our operational support team, community safety, and security branch have been in the space. I also met with the MP (Anthony Hylton) on Tuesday and had some discussion. On his return to the island, we expect to move those talks further," he said.