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Mass Shooting After Jā€™ouvert
posted (September 12, 2017)
The Tenth of September long weekend began in earnest at 4:00 on Saturday morning when hundreds of city residents woke up, put on their rags, and went out into the pre dawn debauchery of j'ouvert. It's a celebration of the carnival spirit, and also a surrender to the reckless abandon of a road march - where anything can happen.

But, j'ouvert goers always hope and pray that the "anything" doesn't include gun violence - and to ensure things stay as safe as possible, police are everywhere. But where were they right when they j'ouvert ended and a gunman flashed into a crowd of revelers going home and opened fire? Our colleague Rhonda Crichton was on the scene right after the shooting - and her footage left us asking questions about police readiness:...

Jules Vasquez - Reporting
This was the eruptive chaotic scene near Sand-lighter's promenade after the sounds of gunshots were heard not far away from the seawall. The crowd scattered and one man, carried by his friends, was rushed away in a police pickup. Oddly, most people seemed to be running to, not away, from the scene of the shooting, which happened here at the corner of Kerry and Wilson Streets. On Wilson Street, we say a bloody shortened road and blood stains going in all directions as the J'ouvert goers casually walked home.

Just feet away, at the FSS Adventist church, they were singing hymns for their Saturday service. But there are blood stains at the entrance to the church and the church gate was turned into a crime scene parameter.

Churchgoer - Witnessed shooting aftermath
"I just heard like four, five, six gun shots run out. And I saw a young lady going here, she had a shot to her hand, she was bleeding. And then a young man all the way at the back of the church. Right now I gotta turn on the water to wash it off because there is a lot of blood at the back."

"How does something like this affect your day?"

Churchgoer - Witnessed shooting aftermath
"Well, for me it was terrible because, well for me, this was the second time I saw it happen. This is like the worst of all- everybody running, screaming, tumbling down. It's not nice. We were in the church yard, we was over there and you know, with the crowd running, you don't know who was the gunman."

Same for the taxi-man who was caught up in the middle of the melee as the shooter sped in on a bicycle. The cab driver got a shot on his door. But lucky for him, it didn't penetrate.

Eldon Thomas - Cab Driver
"Yeah, blam, blam, blam, I hear gunshot I just run at the side and I duck and so that's why you see my car park there. But I going home now mammi, I going take a lee bath and relax."

"But you nuh see nobody? Nothing?"

Eldon Thomas
"I mean a crowd of people deh round and round, I can't see nobody."

The crime scene with multiple evidence markers- the number 12 was used- but only five shots were fired. And so many trails of blood for each of the six victims who dispersed in desperation.

Supt. Hilberto Romero - OC, CIB
"CIB personnel visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they found six persons with varying degrees of gunshot injuries. All persons were treated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and so far all six have been released. The scene was processed; we found five nine millimeters expended shells at the area and an investigation is ongoing at this time to try and find two suspects who came up to the area on bicycles. One of them pulled out a pistol, fired the shots and then rode off on the said bicycle."

"Sir, who was the intended target? Can you say at this time?"

Supt. Hilberto Romero
"Well, our investigation is showing at that the intended target was Akeem Agustine. He was among the other persons and around the six persons that were shot at that area."

No one has been arrested and one wonders, with so many police in the area, how could the cops not have caught the shooter?"

Jules Vasquez, Reporter
"That area was swarming with police officers, there were many police officers in the area. First, did the police officers witness anything; two, are you all concerned that even in the presence of a number of police officers, such a brazen broad daylight armed assault was able to take place? I mean, multiple people could have been killed if you open fire in a crowded area."

Supt. Hilberto Romero
"Yes, there were numerous police that were assigned to work at the Jouvert and as soon as the shots were heard, cause officers were nearby, but the evidence or the information is showing that the shooter came very quickly on a bicycle opened fire and then took off."

He took off and left a wave of terror in his wake.

No arrests have been made and police believe there was an altercation during the j'ouvert involving Akeem Augustine which prompted the fight. As we reported on Friday, Agusustine had just come off four and half years of remand for a murder the day before.

Police did get a brief glimpse of the shooter on a security camera but he rode off too quickly.

And, contrary to what the police press office put out on Saturday, the Meighan brothers are not suspects. Shaquille Meagan's mother says he was illegally detained for 55 hours, before being released without charges. Police agree he is not a suspect.

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