Jamaica Defence Force soldiers yesterday in position at
the Vineyard Town police station, Kingston 3, following a rumor that gunmen planned to
An intermittent gun battle between gunmen and
police and soldiers over a five-hour period, ended with Corporal Roland Layne, 33, of the
Constabulary Communication Network, Police Headquarters, Old Hope Road, St. Andrew, being
shot dead. He joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force in July 1991.
The injured policemen are Corporal Lincoln Thomas of the
Half-Way Tree station and Constables Kenneth Myers and Richard Lee, both from the Mobile
Reserve, Harman Barracks, Up-Park Camp.
An alleged gunman was also killed and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol taken from
him, the police say. Up to press time the police said he was unidentified.
Yesterdays flare-up came in the wake of the fatal shooting of Sylvester
"Punky" Wint who residents claimed was killed by the police in cold blood on
Tuesday morning in the Mountain View Avenue area.
Following Tuesday's shooting, placards were placed along a
section of Mountain View Avenue, declaring it a "no-entry zone" for the police.
Apparently unaware of what was happening, Cpl. Thomas and
his daughter were travelling in a police vehicle along Mountain View Avenue when he came
under heavy gunfire.
Police sources say he was returning from picking up his daughter
at the Norman Manley International Airport when he ran into the gunfire. He was shot in
the head and was reported to be in critical condition. There were reports that his
daughter was grazed by a bullet.
<>A team of policemen from the Mobile Reserve went to the
assistance of Cpl. Thomas and his daughter, they too came under heavy gunfire and Cons.
Myers was shot in the thigh, and Cons. Lee in the right elbow.
Cpl. Layne had been on his way from CCN to get information on
the disturbance in the area. On reaching near the vicinity of Langston Road and Mountain
View Avenue a bullet shattered the windscreen of the unmarked vehicle in which he was
travelling with a colleague from CCN, and blew away a part of the left side of his head.
He died minutes later while his colleague, who was driving, was
speeding him to hospital. He is survived by a wife and a young son.
(He was the first policeman to have been murdered this
year, the other being Det. Sgt. Maurice Shirley, 47, of the internal Affairs Division,
Duke Street, downtown Kingston, who was shot dead in a bar in Strathmore Gardens, near
Spanish Town St. Catherine on the night of April 14. He is to be buried tomorrow.)
From then on, gunmen from neighbouring communities engaged the
police in continual gun battle, often forcing them into retreat. Policemen were heard
crying out for help and calling for a senior officer to take command of the situation.
At one stage the gunmen were said to have been planning to
attack the nearby Vineyard Town police station. Police said they crept along First Avenue
and fired at the station building.
JDF soldiers later took up position at the station.