Ex-cop said to be leader of Unity Gang shot dead by police

AN ex-policeman who was said to be the reputed leader of the Unity Gang was yesterday shot dead in an alleged shoot-out with the police at Morgans Lane in Homestead, St Catherine.

Police said the reputed gang leader — Mark Sewell — was fatally shot after he engaged a police team in a shoot-out. A firearm was taken from his body.

Residents of Morgans Lane claimed that Sewell, 41, was murdered by the police and yesterday morning blocked the Old Harbour main road as they protested against the killing.  “Murder them murder me son.  He was a man who was doing so much for the youth and the area,” said a grieving Patricia Mitchell, mother of the slain man.  The distraught mother claimed that at about 6:00 am her son was at home when the police came and demanded that he open the grille gate to his house. The police, Mitchell said, opened fire on her son who had gone outside only in his underwear.

A resident, who claimed to have witnessed the early morning shooting, said: “I saw when the police them came and started knocking down the grille to Sewell’s house and he told them he was searching for a key. When he finally opened the door one policeman in the group walked up to him and shot him several times.”

The resident added that while Sewell was on the ground another cop stood over him and pumped a bullet into his body.  “After them shoot him, I saw when one a the police take out a gun from him other policeman friend waist and fired it up in the air,” the resident claimed.  In the meantime, the police, in their version of the shooting, said: “Cops were on operation in the community when they came under gunfire. The fire was returned and Sewell was fatally shot.”

The police promised a full investigation into the claims by the resident.  Meanwhile, a relative of the slain man told the Observer that Sewell was founder of the Day Break Foundation, which was assisting people in and around the Homestead community.

“It was just yesterday that he was at a meeting at the Ministry of National Security to deal with a homework programme to help students,” the relative said. Sewell left the police force in 1995, but it was not clear under what circumstances he left.

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