Relatives want justice for men killed by cops

July 18, 2023
The house on Kennedy Lane in Gordon Pen, St Catherine, where two men were killed by police on Sunday.
The house on Kennedy Lane in Gordon Pen, St Catherine, where two men were killed by police on Sunday.

Relatives of two men who were killed by police on Sunday in Gordon Pen, St Catherine, are accusing the lawmen of murder.

Yesterday, relatives and some residents took THE STAR team to the house where the police say the bodies of 30-year-old Cleon Rowe, otherwise called 'Theo', and 17-year old Tiwayne Cunningham were found after a confrontation with them. The police report that about 8:15 a.m., they were carrying out an operation in the Kennedy Lane area of Gordon Pen when they came under heavy gunfire. They returned the fire and later discovered two men with gunshot wounds in a building. They were taken to hospital where both were pronounced dead. Two Sarsilmaz nine millimetre pistols along with four rounds of ammunition were recovered.

One of Rowe's relatives recalled hearing gunshots.

"Somebody say mi fi go look and everybody start bawl and say 'Theo and the little youth get shot by the police them'," the relative said. Multiple bullet holes were seen in the interior walls of the house, and pools of dried blood were on the floor. The relative said the men were not 'bad' or wanted by the police.

"Them just soft, none of them nuh have no gun. Mi want see justice done, a cold blooded murder this," the person said. According to the relative, Cunningham, who came from St Ann, had been living in the community for the past two years, and recently took up residence in the house where he was killed. Another relative of Rowe's told THE STAR that she was in her house when her sister alerted her that police were in Rowe's yard.

"By the time we reach the gate a pure gunshot. Same time the police point the gun at us and say 'none a you nuh come yah so', same time the crowd come out," she said. A neighbour said the police entered the yard and forced the iron grille open. As soon as they got inside, gunshots were heard.

"The shooting cool off and then mi hear a next barrage. I do not know these guys to be involved in any wrongs; they work," declared the neighbour. However, the police report that the men were unemployed. A strong detachment of police and soldiers has been patrolling the community since the incident and prevented residents from blocking the road in protest.

The Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau and Independent Commission of Investigations are investigating.

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