(Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer)
The shocking execution-style killing of a toddler on Luke Lane in downtown Kingston, on Tuesday night, has left residents in the community in fear and outrage.
According to relatives, two-year-old Demario Whyte was shot in his head at point-blank range by the gunman after his injured father left him at the gate while trying to escape the gunman’s bullet.
The boy along with his father and uncle were shot after gunmen drove into the community and started firing on the corner where the men were sitting around 8:30 pm.
The child’s father was reportedly shot twice in his foot and once in the stomach while his brother was shot in the face. Both men are said to be in stable condition at the Kingston Public Hospital.
Yesterday, when the Jamaica Observer visited the community the grief was obvious as residents stared into space while others openly shed tears and expressed anger at the gunman’s heartless behaviour.
The area was also lined with pieces of black cloth indicating that the community was in mourning.
The toddlers’ grandaunt, who identified herself only as Taneisha, told the Observer that she, relatives and neighbours were on the road when a black car drove up.
“Me deh deh and mi see the car stop and wi just think a come dem come fi buy stuff cause a one shop deh deh but den wi hear the shot dem start fire.
“So we run go inna di yard and me a cry out because mi know my kids were on the street, one whole heap a kids were on the street,” she said.
According to Taneisha, she heard her sister crying out for her son and when she looked out she saw a baby at the gate but did not know that he was her grandnephew.
However, Taneisha said she could not rescue him as shots were being fired.
Taneisha said her nephew who only returned to the community from Harbour View about five months ago, since the child’s mother left for an overseas work programme, has blamed himself for the death of his son and has been crying a lot.
While Taneisha spoke some residents sat looking off in space while others expressed anger at the men.
“Right now everybody lost,” one woman said.
“How you fi look pon a baby and put a gun to him head and kill him?” another one questioned.
However, while the residents grieved they expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the police who they claimed visited the home and tore down their gate.
The police, however, have refuted the resident’s claim regarding their presence in the community.
An investigating officer from Central Police Station told the Observer that the police have been patrolling the area and that on the night of the shooting was in the area and engaged the gunmen in a gun battle but they escaped.
However, he said the police are following strong leads and that from preliminary investigations it appears that the attack was as a result of an ongoing gang feud.