Brutal murders – churchman among latest victims

A five-year-old girl and a church deacon were among the Jamaicans murdered yesterday as gunmen continued wanton killings across the island, pushing the murder toll to almost 530 in just four months.

The life of five-year-old Christiana Salmon was cut short by trigger-happy gunmen while her dad was taking her and her elder sister to school early in the morning. Her sister, 9, was shot and injured.

The marauding gunmen, the police reported, peppered Christopher Salmon’s Rover motor car with bullets while he drove along Felicity Road in the dreaded crime-plagued community of Glendevon.

Salmon, who was shot in the mouth and neck, drove the car with his blood-drenched daughters to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where Christiana was pronounced dead, and he and the other child were treated. Their conditions were said to be serious.

Salesman Uton Johns, a resident of Felicity Road in St James, was earlier cut down by armed men, also in Glendevon.

Salmon, a resident of Rose Heights, was apparently caught in a roadblock mounted by residents of Glendevon who were protesting against Wednesday’s police killing of Donavon Campbell and Gary Hines, both of Glendevon, who were said to be among 15 gunmen who engaged the police in a firefight.

The protest forced the shutdown of three schools — Albion Primary and Junior High, Green Pond Primary, and Green Pond High.

In the meantime, the churchman, Michael Dixon, a member of the Lighthouse Assembly Worship Centre on Garbally Drive in Spanish Town, was murdered at his home in the Arlington Housing Scheme along March Pen Road, a tough community in the old capital.

Police said his body was found lying beside his bed about 5:30 yesterday morning.

There were unconfirmed reports that the young deacon was saying morning prayers when his life was cut short by the blood-thirsty gunmen who shot him in the face and upper body.

Police investigators said the gunmen gained entry to Dixon’s house by climbing through a window.

Yesterday, a handful of Dixon’s church sisters and brothers gathered at the Lighthouse Assembly Worship Centre, after hearing the news of his murder.

“Pastor Michael would not hurt a soul. He is the type of person who, as you say hello to him, he would reply “hanging on” and immediately give you a word of encouragement,” said Kevin Astin, as tears welled-up in his eyes.

“Such a man did not deserve to die like that,” said Shelly Schooler, acting secretary at the church.

Dr Andrew Wheatley, the mayor of Spanish Town, in condemning the murder of the churchman, said it showed that “everyone is a potential victim” of violence in the country.

“That man was involved in almost all of the crime reduction initiatives (in Spanish Town); 10,000-Man March, everything. I really can’t believe he was killed like that,” said the mayor, who said he had met with Dixon at several peace initiatives in Spanish Town.

The Lighthouse Assembly Worship Centre has, for several years, been involved in a number of community outreach and skills-training programmes for the youth and less fortunate, as well as peace initiatives, in the Spanish Town area.

Shortly after 8:00 yesterday morning, while police were processing the scene where the deacon was shot dead, they were summoned to the nearby Westchester Housing Scheme in Duncan’s Pen, where gunmen chased and shot dead 21-year-old Shamar Elliot while he was riding his bicycle to work.

A number of the slain man’s co-workers from the salt factory cried openly when they looked at his lifeless body on the ground in the community which he lived.

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