Woman tells of severe headache just before brother shot dead

A severe headache which befell Greenwich Town resident Britney Thompson on Tuesday night close to 11:00 was just a precursor to tragic circumstances which would see her mourning the shooting death of her brother, Oniel Chambers, moments later.

Chambers was killed by the police at the front of a yard on West Avenue while they were rushing to an adjoining community to respond to a shooting. They allegedly came upon a group of men who were behaving suspiciously, according to Superintendent Kirk Ricketts who heads the St Andrew South Police Division, in which Greenwich Town is located. Rickets told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that when police attempted to accost the men “a number of them ran”. It is alleged that one man, who remained on spot, pulled a firearm on the police party, forcing them to take cover. Shots were fired and Chambers was hit. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Rickets said a 9mm pistol and a magazine containing a number of rounds were removed from the shooting scene.

Thompson and other residents, however, gave a contrasting account to the police’s, claiming that Chambers had no gun and was killed in cold blood. Residents also claimed that the pistol, which had no magazine in it, was planted at the scene.

In protest, the residents set fire to debris, blocking numerous sections of East Avenue, while some of them held placards and appealed for justice in the matter.

“When time him come inna di house, mi head did a hurt mi and him come een and seh mi must take a pill and lay down. Him den seh to my mother seh him want piece a chicken and she seh two piece lef back in deh. Me tell him fi tek di breast. As him tek di chicken and go round deh suh, him get shot inna him head.

“My brother just cool, suh mi nuh know why dem do dat to him. Everybody else run but it look like him shock suh him couldn’t move,” she said.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), which has started investigations into the incident, said the shooting occurred approximately 10:45 pm and that a Springfield pistol was taken from the scene. That firearm, along with the weapons of the police personnel involved in the shooting were photographed, boxed, sealed and sent for testing at the Government Forensic Laboratory. Police who were involved in the shooting were, meanwhile, served notices to furnish statements and attend the offices of INDECOM to be interviewed.

INDECOM said it would be collecting statements from residents who had blocked the roads, expressing anger and reported a different version of events from what the police said happened in the death of Chambers.

Alicia Morris, Chambers’ mother, told the Observer that she fainted when she was informed about her son’s death. Morris said she was appalled be the actions of the cops. She said Chambers, her only son, had never been on the wrong side of the law, pointing to a few times he was picked up by the police when drag netting, but is usually released soon afterwards.

“Dem come call mi round a mi house seh mi son dead. Di way dem come call mi, mi drop dung because mi foot dem get weak. Dem shot him inna him belly and him vomit. Dem not even did search him nor nothing. Him go dung pon him knee a beg fi mercy and dem still kill him like a dog dem a deal wid. Den dem a drag him pon road and throw him up inna di back a di vehicle and a lick up him head and dem sumn deh, like dem nuh have no pickney? Dem wicked.”

One female resident, Nicola Ryman, claimed that police pointed their firearms at her son after shooting Chambers, but he made a quick leap towards her to embrace her. Di shot go through Oniel and fly inna my bus. Dem affi fix my minibus bus. My mother is 78-year-old and a right yah suh she live. Fi see police a shoot man right in front a har, nuh traumatise dem a traumatise my mother now? We need justice and dem need fi stop now,“ said, as she lamented the trampling of her mint tree by police who were searching for guns.

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