Minister’s guard shot dead

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington (left) offers support to head of the Protective Services Division Senior Superintendent Tony Powell (right) while Assistant Commissioner Wray Palmer of the Operations Branch looks on.
Police Commissioner Owen Ellington (left) offers support to head of the Protective Services Division Senior Superintendent Tony Powell (right) while Assistant Commissioner Wray Palmer of the Operations Branch looks on.

KINGSTON — When Detective Sergeant Courtney Anthony Simpson completed his duties Monday evening as part of the security detail for junior minister Julian Robinson he headed straight home to his family, as was his usual custom.

According to his colleagues, Simpson, 40, was a dedicated family man and must have been relieved that he would have a little more time Monday to spend with his wife and child at their Harbour View home in East Kingston.

But as fate would have it he never got the chance to see his loved ones as gunmen ambushed him and shot him eight times as he attempted to enter his Pearl Avenue home about 7 p.m.

Despite frantic efforts of neighbours to rush him to the Kingston Public Hospital, he died a few hours later.

His attackers never managed to steal his service weapon and although he was surprised by his cold-hearted attackers, he found the presence of mind to return the fire and they fled, leaving him bleeding on his verandah.

Despite the efforts of medical staff to save his life, he succumbed to his injuries as some of his vital organs were damaged beyond repair.

Robinson, who is the state minister in the Ministry of Mining, Science, Energy and Technology, was hard hit by the murder of the policeman who served as his bodyguard for more than a year.

“This policeman was a decent, hard-working cop who didn’t deserve to be killed like this. We had an early night and I was shocked when I was called and told by his wife that he was shot. It is a terrible loss,” Robinson said.

The incident happened just a street away from the Harbour View Police Station and happened as his wife and child were inside the home anticipating sharing quality time with the patriarch of their family.

At the family home yesterday, the carport and verandah of the home were potch-marked with bullet holes, a deadly reminder of the fierce battle which took place only hours before.

Simpson and his family had just moved to the East Kingston community in December last year.

Yesterday, the air was pregnant with gloom at the Protective Services Division at Ruthven Road where Simpson’s colleagues had gathered to mourn his untimely passing.

They were supported by Police Commissioner Owen Ellington, Assistant Commissioner Wray Palmer and force chaplain, Assistant Commissioner Bishop Gary Welsh, who gave a motivational speech to boost the downed spirits of Simpson’s dejected colleagues.

Ellington had earlier condemned the latest killing of a policeman and said it was clear that the criminal element had upped the ante against present and former officers by staging more attacks near the homes of the crimefighters.

Ellington pledged full support for officers who used necessary force to ward off attacks by vagabonds intent on dampening the spirits of members of the constabulary.

“Be assured of the full backing of the Police High Command and from me personally whenever you act swiftly and with precision in thwarting any violent attack upon your person, whether on the job or off duty. We have seen enough of these violent criminal attacks on our own, to understand that the evil forces have declared war on us,” he said. (Observer)

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