Cops say gang member fired at them in Spanish Town chase
Two police witnesses yesterday insisted that they never fired a single shot at an alleged member of the Clansman-One Dong Gang, who they say fired at them repeatedly before he was held with an illegal handgun in 2017.
Both officers, at the resumption of the trial in the Home Circuit Court in Kingston, said that the alleged gangster, who they identified as defendant Tareek James, had fired several shots at them, first when they were in a marked service vehicle and again while they were chasing him. Although he could not recall the number of shots, one of the constables said it was more than three on both occasions.
But when asked by James' lawyer, Davorna Wilson, how many shots the police had fired, he said "None" emphatically. The witness said that even though he thought about returning fire, he did not because he feared harming bystanders or damaging property. The second witness further testified that he also refrained from firing as his colleague was in front of him.
The constables were reportedly part of a three-member team on mobile patrol in Rivoli, Spanish Town, St Catherine, on November 7, that allegedly came under attack from James, previously identified as one of the gang's top shooters and the personal bodyguard of the reputed One Don Gang leader Andre 'Blackman' Bryan.
Both witnesses said they saw when James alighted from a Nissan Latio, fired at them in the car and ran off. According to one of the lawmen, before they spotted the car which had raised their suspicion after making a sudden right turn, they had received information about the said car. However, after they were fired upon, they told the court that they jumped from their car and chased the alleged shooter. They testified that during the chase, James fired at them a second time before seeking refuge in a yard where he was held.
According to one of the lawmen, he had to drop himself to the ground to avoid being hit by the gangster who he claimed was still attempting to fire at him when he "tactically" approached him in the yard hiding under a piece of board. The constable told the court that he noticed the alleged gangster pulling the slide on the gun back and forth.
"He appeared to have had a stoppage, meaning the gun couldn't fire," the witness said. James then reportedly complied with the constable's command to drop the gun and was arrested and taken to the Spanish Town Police Station where he was charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition and a Sig Sauer .45 pistol and cartridge with six rounds allegedly taken from him.
During cross-examination from Wilson, both cops rejected suggestions that James did not shoot at the police. They were unable to say how many spent shells were found at the scene or if any were found. Wilson also challenged the estimate of the number of shots allegedly fired by her client as the cartridge can only hold seven bullets.
Meanwhile, the police corporal who had charged James and who secured the weapon and the ammunition which he submitted to the court yesterday, said James told him that he was never in the Nissan car and that he saw it speeding by. The cop said James also told him that he was on his way from visiting his girlfriend on the day in question but the witness said efforts to find the girlfriend proved futile. He said that the car was located on French Street in Spanish Town and seized. The trial will continue today.