Survivor of mass shooting at football match tells how he escaped Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A St Catherine man is continuing to count his luck after he and his friends survived Sunday’s horrifying mass shooting incident at the Best Dressed Chicken sports complex in Spring Village near Old Harbour in St Catherine on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking exclusively with Loop News three days after the attack that left three persons dead and six others nursing injuries, the lucky spectator said it was the first time in years that he and his friends had gone to a football match at that venue.

“The greatest ting is wi alive and ting. We haffi talk about it ’till we kinda recover out ah it,” said the man who asked for his identity to be withheld.

According to the police, the incident unfolded at the football field at about 5:10 pm on Sunday.

Fitz Bailey, the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the crime and security portfolio, said a gunman allegedly alighted from a Toyota Mark X motorcar during the football match, and opened fire on the crowd which included some employees of Jamaica Broilers.

The man told Loop News that he could not recall how long he was at the football match or when the gunshots began.

“If mi tell yuh a time, a lie mi would a tell,” he said jokingly, but yet very cognisant that he could have lost his life.

Though he could not recount the time of the incident, the spectator recalled that he and his friends were among the crowd at the venue.

“From mi hear a shot mi lif up,” he said, adding that his friends also ran.

“As mi say, as mi hear the shot mi just lif up and jump over one tall wire (perimeter) fence. Mi run guh over one yard and run go inna one house. Anything happen otherwise, mi nuh see it,” he recalled.

In those moments of his quest for survival, the man shared that he harboured no thought of whether he would eventually live to tell the tale.

“Mi nuh have dah mind deh… Mi just know mi want run, and when mi see the fence, mi seh mi haffi go over dah fence yah,” he said.

In several social media videos of the incident, gunshots were heard being fired wildly as several persons scampered to safety, while others stooped down on the field to avoid being shot.

When the shooting subsided, screams of horror and disbelief echoed across the venue.

Asked whether he went back to the football field after the shooting subsided, the survivor said a resounding, “No!”

Continuing, he said: “Mi nah guh back desso. As mi seh, mi jump di fence, mi run guh inna one yard and go inna one house.”

He indicated that he did not know the occupants of the house, but he explained to them that he was not a wrongdoer.

Additionally, the survivor of Sunday’s gun attack said he could not recall how long he was sheltering at the house while gunshots were being fired at the football field.

“Anybody would ah scared,” said the man of his feelings in that short span of time.

The victims of Sunday’s bloodbath have since been identified as Jerome Squire, who the police said was the target, as well as Tamara Eubanks and a man known only by his alias, ‘Curry’.

It was reported that gunmen continued to fire at the crowd after shooting Squire, who was allegedly linked to an illegal firearm that had gone missing. That bit of theory was confirmed by Bailey in numerous media interviews.

The six other injured persons were hospitalised.

Meanwhile, the survivor who spoke to Loop News said he left the house where he sought refuge before nightfall, and headed to his own home. He said he had no indication of where his friends were in that time.

In reflecting on his survival, the St Catherine resident expressed joy that he and his friends escaped unscathed.

“Anyone ah dem (my friends) could a get shot and sinting. The greatest thing is mi deh yah suh and nutten nuh happen to wi.

“Wi haffi happy, because when yuh check the news, whole heap a people in hospital and three people mussi dead pon spot,” he lamented.

For the survivor, returning to a match at the venue in Spring Village is not a possibility for now, even though he said he is not traumatised.

“Mi nuh really feel that levels like the other rest ah people dem… If mi did inna the (football) complex (for much of) the time (of the shooting), maybe mi would ah feel more sheg up, but as mi tell miself, mi haffi guh over the fence; jump up and fly over it,” he explained.

He said his friends, too, are happy to be alive, though they reflect on the incident daily.

In his view, the mass shooting incident will be talked about for quite some time to come.

“Dem nah guh stop talk ’bout it. A nuff people did deh at the match.

“Right yah now wi just happy to live to see a next day and none a mi friend dem weh mi guh with, nothing nuh happen to them either,” the man concluded.