Reign of terror
Cop, gunman killed in fierce gun
battle in Mountain View Avenue area
One policeman and a gunman were shot dead and four persons injured during a fierce and sustained gun battle between criminals and the
security forces in the Mountain View Avenue area of Kingston yesterday.
The dead cop is Corporal Roland Layne, a member of the
Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) staff who, along with his colleague, Sergeant
Victor Henry, was en route to cover the disturbance when a bullet from a high powered
rifle shattered the windshield of his car and pierced his head. Layne, who died on the way
to hospital, was the second cop to be killed since the start of this year.
"We had cleared a blockage at Deanery Road and about a
hundred yards further down we came upon another blockage and I slowed the car. At that
point I heard a whistling sound and the windscreen of the Toyota Corolla I was driving
shattered," a visibly shaken Sergeant Henry told journalists yesterday. He said that
when he looked to his left he saw a lot of blood all over the car and realised that
Corporal Layne was shot.
"I hastened to Kingston Public Hospital where my colleague
and friend was pronounced dead," Henry said.
Two Jamaica Defence Force Soldiers return fire from
gunmen in the Mountain View area of east Kingston yesterday during a gunbattle that lasted
more than six hours and which claimed the life of one policeman and a gunman.
Up to last night when the Observer was
being prepared for press the dead gunman was still unidentified and the area was placed
Among the injured persons were three policemen and a little girl
who was travelling from the Norman Manley International Airport with her father (one of
the cops injured) in his private car which was shot up by the gunmen.
The battle started at about 11:00 am when heavily armed gunmen
from Langston Road and adjoining communities, in what appeared to be a well coordinated
operation, traded bullets with policemen and soldiers for well over six hours, reigning
terror on the east Kingston community.
The gunmen were said to be using cellular telephones to organise
their attacks which were in apparent retaliation for Tuesday morning's killing by the
police of Sylvester "Punky" Wint in an alleged shootout.
According to the police, Wint was wanted for questioning in
connection with a number of shootings in the area, including an attack on a police patrol
at about 1 o'clock that morning.
They said they received information that one of the gunmen was
at 51A Mountain View Avenue so they cordoned off the house and asked the occupants to come
This police jeep ran off the road and into this gully after it was
shot at by gunmen in the Mountain View Avenue area of Kingston yesterday.
The police said that Wint ran out of the house holding a baby in one hand, a gun in the other and opened fire at them. He subsequently
dropped the child and, in his bid to escape, was shot.
However, video footage of the incident aired on national
television, raised questions about the police account, and on Wednesday the Bureau of
Special Investigation said it had started investigating the incident from the day before.
The shooting had sparked a demonstration in the area Tuesday by
residents who used debris to block sections of Mountain View Avenue. The police, however,
cleared the road.
Yesterday, Mountain View Avenue was blocked again at several
points, from the intersection with Deanery Road to Jacques Road. It was while a team of
policemen was trying to clear one of the road blocks that they came under heavy fire from
gunmen on the high rise buildings adjacent to Langston Road.
Reinforcement from various police stations in the Corporate
Area, as well as Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers were deployed to the area to provide
back-up and restore calm.
A cop taked cover and returns fire from gunmen in yesterday's gun
But the area was transformed into a literal
battlefield, as rapid fire gunshots echoed throughout the community, forcing the police
and soldiers to hit the ground or take cover behind concrete fences.
While JDF helicopters hovered, giving air support to the ground
teams, motorists were forced to detour from the affected area - some on instructions from
the police, others from gunmen.
Yesterday, the Ministry of National Security and Justice
expressed its condolences to the family of Corporal Layne and those injured in the
"Clearly, there are groups of vicious and violent young
persons in this society who have no regard for the lives of others. Their lust for blood
is creating mayhem in this country and they are being made by some to believe that they
are the only ones with human rights," the ministry said in a statement.
"Communities must disgorge themselves of these gunmen who
are holding decent persons as hostages. The time is now for all to join with the police in
their effort to restore law and order. Citizens must choose between good and evil, right
and wrong, lawlessness and order, the police and gunman," the ministry said.