Time: Thu, 12 May 2005 00:00 UTC
¶1. (C) Summary: In seperate incidents, between 9:00 p.m. on May 3 and 7:00 a.m. on May 4, three Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) officers and one private security guard were murdered while another JCF officer was injured in Kingston. Two of the alleged gunmen were shot and killed in one incident and the weapon recovered at that scene has been linked to the 14 month old murder of another JCF officer. The perpetrators for all of the shootings have been linked to the notorious Tivoli Gardens area “Shower Posse”. Although there is an ongoing investigation, no suspects have been
apprehended and another “committee” is being created to look into the crime problem. End Summary.
¶2. (U) At approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 3, in front of the Canadian High Commission in Kingston, two gunmen on a motorcycle approached Corporal H. Chandler, a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) officer sitting at a traffic light in a marked vehicle, shot and killed him. A JCF officer and a private security guard who happened to be nearby, gave chase and in the ensuing shoot-out, killed the two gunmen, one of whom has been identified as Christopher St. Aubyn Coke, aka “Royale”, the brother of Michael Christopher “Dudus” Coke, a well known, JLP-linked “area leader” in West Kingston. Over the next 24 hours, two additional JCF officers and one private security guard were killed. Another officer was shot and injured while on patrol and in a separate brazen attack, Constable D. Brown was killed when gunmen opened fire on the Crossroads police station which is located in the downtown area near the Embassy. No one has been apprehended in any of the killings.
¶3. (C) NAS Law Enforcement Development Advisor confirmed that the JCF originally believed that these shootings are in retaliation for the fatal shooting of Tivoli Gardens gang leader, Donovan Griffith aka “Zion Train”, by JCF officers in late April. The police believe that the Tivoli Gardens “Shower Posse” gang is fulfilling a vow to retaliate against any security official – police, military and private security guards. However, information Emboffs received through other contacts suggests that there was a direct hit put on Chandler because he was involved in drug related criminal activity.
It is further alleged that the death of “Royale” is what prompted the Tivoli Garden gang’s call for retaliation against any security official.
¶4. (C) JCF investigators at the scene of Chandler’s shooting recovered a Glock pistol belonging to either “Royale” or his accomplice. RSO, the JCF and Miami ATF worked quickly to identify the weapon as one of several purchased by a Jamaican/American woman in Central Florida whose spouse is living in the U.S. despite having a criminal history. Through ballistic testing, the RSO has confirmed that this same weapon was used to kill JCF Senior Superintendent (SSP) Lloyd McDonald fourteen months ago. Ironically, McDonald was gunned down about 100 meters from where Corporal Chandler was murdered. The second weapon recovered from one of the deceased gunmen was SSP McDonald’s service revolver which was stolen at the time of his murder.
¶5. (U) The police expect the retaliatory killings to continue despite pleas from Opposition Leader Bruce Golding for calm in the Tivoli area, his constituency. In response to the threat and subsequent killings, the police have initiated checkpoints in and out of the Tivoli Gardens area. On May 5, the Prime Minster issued a call to “put aside all partisan considerations or selfish concerns and unite in the fight against crime,” while the Minister of National Security stated that the criminals will be “tracked down and put away.”
¶6. (U) On May 6, in a joint statement issued by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Bruce Golding, the leaders expressed condemnation and abhorrence at the recent attacks on the police force. They agreed that some communities would require the sustained presence and extensive searches by the police, undertaken on the basis of intelligence and not political considerations. In addition, a Parliamentary committee to deal with security would be established to review the legislative framework in support of the work of the police.
¶7. (C) Comment: While members of the opposition and NGOs such as Jamaicans for Justice have called for the police to utilize restraint in responding to the “attack on police”, post is surprised by what little has been said and done by both the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party in response. While an agreement to put together a parliamentary committee to deal with security issues is positive, it is yet another group of people looking at the same issue of an escalating murder rate (now over 580 since January 1), that shows no sign of abating. End Comment.