A 15-year-old boy vacationing in Jamaica from the US was shot and injured during an operation by the security forces in Seaview Gardens, St Andrew, on Thursday.
The teenager, whose name is being withheld, is on the honour roll at his school and is an aspiring footballer who lives in Bronx, New York. He was shot in the leg and later hospitalised.
His irate father, Howard Johnson, is demanding answers and that the authorities act quickly to resolve the issue.
“[My son] is on vacation from the USA. He hadn’t seen his mother in how long, and he came to spend some time. He represents his school in football, is a top student ah foreign, and to know this happen to him inna him home country hard fi deal wid,” his father told Loop News on Thursday shortly after arriving on the island.
Johnson is upset that his unarmed son was almost killed by the security forces in a nightmarish scenario that would keep any parent up at night.
“[My son] told me he went to the shop to buy bag juice, and when he heard the shots he began running to his house to safety, then the police fired two shots in the air and say, ‘Freeze’. He stopped, and when he turned around, the police shot him and run down on him to finish him off and he had to cry out…and when dem see the bag juice scatter on the ground, ah that saved him,” Johnson claimed.
The father of four said he would never have imagined that such a scenario could have played out with his son.
“This is exactly the reason I took him from Seaview. All my kids migrated in 2016, this ah his second trip back to Jamaica since that ’cause he wanted to see his mother. The police dem traumatise mi family. Mi little daughter who go down with him to Jamaica is afraid to go outside right now. I might have to get counselling for her,” he said.
He is demanding a full and thorough investigation.
“We want to know if is a soldier or a police do it because mi ah hear conflicting stories, we don’t want this to be covered up,” he said.
Johnson is to meet with the children’s advocate and police investigators on Friday.
The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has begun probing the shooting incident.
The security forces report an engagement with at least one, possibly two males, one of whom is reported as allegedly pointing a firearm at the members of the security forces. It is reported that of the responding officers, no member of the Jamaica Defence Force fired their weapon but one Jamaica Constabulary Force officer fired his weapon during the incident, INDECOM said.
The 15-year-old boy was conveyed to the hospital with a gunshot injury to his leg.
No weapon was reported to INDECOM by investigators as being recovered from the scene or the injured boy.
INDECOM is urging the cooperation of individuals who may have witnessed the incident to share any information, photos or video footage with the Commission via WhatsApp at (876) 553-5555.
— Claude Mills