JAMAICA – Murder at school
Classes suspended after shooting at front gate
KINGSTON — Students were left traumatised following a brazen gun attack at the school gate which left a ‘bike taxi’ operator dead and a nine-year-old schoolboy nursing gunshot injuries to the face Monday.
Police identified the dead man as 24-year-old Delano Barwise, also called Sanchez, of Santoy and Crawle in Hanover.
The police said the schoolboy received a bullet to his face and another grazed his neck. He was admitted to hospital in serious but stable condition.
Distressed teachers explained that the incident caused great trauma to the students.
As news of the incident spread, parents rushed to the school to collect their children.
Teachers who remained at the school after the students were sent home received grief counselling from the chaplain assigned to Green Island Police Station, the Hanover Police Community Safety and Security Branch, and a team from the Ministry of Education Region Four.
The school was also visited by representatives from the Child Development Agency, headed by the Parish Manager Eric Vassel.
“We were made aware of a shooting incident that took place this morning, so we have a first responder team, including myself and two other officers, who are here to provide social support, psychological support and whatever support that we can give to the children and the families that have been impacted by the gruesome shooting and killing that has taken place this morning,” stated Vassel.
One of the female educators who wept uncontrollably, had to be comforted by her colleagues.
The Hanover police have attributed gang violence to Monday morning’s killing.
“So far, we are looking at gang violence where this murder is concerned,” head of the Hanover CSS branch, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ainsworth McCarthy told reporters.
“We are following some strong leads and we are positive that this is one of the murders that we are going to solve,” he said.
According to the police, about 8:15 a.m., Barwise drove his motorcycle to the school to drop off a student and was leaving when he was pounced upon by two men who peppered him with gunshots.
The nine-year-old, who was walking to school, was struck by stray bullets.
Monday’s killing pushed the murder tally in the parish to 35 since the start of this year, 20 shy of the 55 recorded over the same period last year.
“I must add that since the start of the year we in Hanover have seen the biggest reduction in murders nationally,” McCarthy noted.
He disclosed that last week, when four murders were recorded, was the bloodiest in the parish since the start of the year. Of the four murders, two were committed in the community of Kingsvale within a 24-hour period.
He noted that at least one of the four murders was gang-related.
The senior cop said most of the gangs in the parish are financed by proceeds from lotto scamming.
The police have attributed the wave of violence across western Jamaica in recent years to disputes among players involved in the lotto scamming.