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Cop says Jungle 12 drive-by shooting a reprisal killing

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Jamaica Observer / THE August Town police are theorising that Tuesday night’s drive-by shooting in Jungle 12 was a reprisal. Seventeen-year-old Javaughn Ferguson, otherwise called Alkaline, was shot dead and another man was shot and injured in the incident.

According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Corporate Communications Unit, about 8:50 pm Javaughn was standing with a group of people at a corner shop in the community when the group was shot at by armed men travelling in a motor car.

When the gunfire subsided, Javaughn and a man were discovered shot. They were taken to hospital where Javaughn was pronounced dead and the man admitted in stable condition.

“What I can tell you about that incident and shooting last night (Tuesday), it was a reprisal [for] the murder of a young man who was killed on the 18th of April in the Papine police area. He was buried on the 10th of June and one month after his burial, on the 10th of July, the reprisal was carried out against the persons who they might believe were involved in his murder,” sub-officer in charge of August Town Police Station, Inspector Keith Steele told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Steele, who took over from Inspector Stephen Taylor on April 18, said despite the efforts by the police to prevent reprisal killings, criminals are finding ways to launch their attacks.

“As it relates to reprisal, criminal elements will wait on opportunity, and you need opportunity to commit crime. They already have the tool to use to commit the crime, which is the guns that are available to them,” Steele said, adding that since January 2017, 24 murders have been recorded in August Town .

At the same time, Steele argued that the residents have a role to play in curtailing reprisal attacks.

“The residents of the community are everywhere, the police are not. When we do what we can to prevent these reprisals, it is only the residents who are everywhere who can assist us in solving these incidents that are taking place at this time because they are everywhere but the police in the area can’t be everywhere,” Steele said .

When the Observer visited the community, debris blocked the roads in Jungle 12.

The Observer has since learnt that the roadblocks were strategically placed to prevent another drive-by shooting.

In 2016, the residents of August Town and stakeholders beamed with pride that the once volatile inner-city community had not contributed to the country’s murder toll, when the island recorded a total of 1,350 murders islandwide, a 15 per cent increase over 2015.

— Racquel Porter

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