Head of Shabba, Blingers gangs shot dead in gun­fights with po­lice

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE - BY RACQUEL PORTER Ob­server staff re­porter porterr@ja­maicaob­

TWO of the St An­drew South Po­lice Divi­sion’s top gang lead­ers who were wanted for mur­ders and shoot­ings in the area were cut down dur­ing gun­fights with law­men in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents Thurs­day.

Yes­ter­day, com­mand­ing of­fi­cer for the divi­sion Su­per­in­ten­dent Gary Fran­cis told jour­nal­ists at a press brief­ing at Hunt’s Bay Po­lice Sta­tion that the men — Christo­pher Arm­strong, oth­er­wise called “Shabba”, head of the Shabba Gang, and Dwayne Hall, oth­er­wise known as “Pops”, “Crazy”, “Cray” and ”Killy“, leader of the Blingers Gang — were killed dur­ing two sep­a­rate op­er­a­tions on Thurs­day.

Po­lice said the Blingers and the Shabba gangs have been fight­ing to gain con­trol of the scrap me­tal trade and ex­tor­tion in the divi­sion.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Fran­cis said Hall, who was on bail for a shoot­ing in­ci­dent in West­more­land, had moved to St An­drew to live with his girl­friend, as part of his bail con­di­tion, was re­spon­si­ble for six mur­ders in the St An­drew South Divi­sion. He was killed dur­ing a con­fronta­tion with po­lice in the Cal­laloo Mews area, near River­ton City, shortly af­ter mid­day on Thurs­day. A firearm was seized fol­low­ing the shoot-out, po­lice said.

Ap­prox­i­mately 6:00 pm Thurs­day, Fran­cis said po­lice were con­duct­ing an op­er­a­tion in Bayshore Park, Har­bour View, when they were fired on by Arm­strong. Su­per­in­ten­dent Fran­cis said Arm­strong, who was shot and in­jured when po­lice re­turned the fire, was taken to hos­pi­tal where he was pro­nounced dead.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent, Arm­strong was wanted for four mur­ders, four cases of shoot­ing, in­clud­ing the in­jury of a po­lice­man, and a case of ar­son. He was also a per­son of in­ter­est in five mur­der cases, in­clud­ing the death of La­toya Gra­ham, Owen Bowen and Paul Men­dez, who were mur­dered in Septem­ber 2017, and Shaquille Curry in 2018.

Arm­strong and his Shabba Gang mem­bers, po­lice said, op­er­ated in the

tough River­ton City com­mu­nity, Water­house and New Haven, all in the St An­drew South Po­lice Divi­sion.

Hall was a per­son of in­ter­est in six cases of mur­der, in­clud­ing the shoot­ing death of Don­a­van Arm­strong on July 24, 2018, and Ra­jay Bryan in Majesty Gar­dens in Novem­ber 2018. He was also a per­son of in­ter­est in the shoot­ing death of Jerome Powell, oth­er­wise known as Dutty Medz, on Oc­to­ber 13, 2018, and the shoot­ing death of Demar Richardo Ready, Ta­jay Fraser and Jerome Powell in July 2017.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Fran­cis said four mem­bers of the Blingers Gang were also ar­rested and a firearm seized dur­ing a se­ries of raids by the po­lice prior to the fa­tal shoot­ing of the two gang­sters.

The po­lice said re­cently that Bay Farm Road and River­ton City have been af­fected by vi­o­lence as a re­sult of war­ring Blingers and Shabba gangs.

Life in the com­mu­ni­ties of Duhaney Park, Wash­ing­ton Gar­dens and New Haven has also been dis­rupted by the ac­tiv­i­ties of the two gangs, po­lice said.

The ar­eas recorded 10 mur­ders and 15 shoot­ings up to Oc­to­ber this year, while three firearms have been seized by the po­lice.

Yes­ter­day, Su­per­in­ten­dent Fran­cis ap­pealed to sec­ond tier mem­bers of the gangs to turn them­selves in to the po­lice in the pres­ence of their at­tor­neys.

“We are will­ing to work along with you that way, but if you take con­fronta­tion to the mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion we will cer­tainly de­fend our­selves and the life of the peo­ple of Ja­maica,” he said.

Fran­cis, who noted that there are 10 top ma­jor gangs op­er­at­ing in the divi­sion, said at least one of the gangs is be­ing di­rected by an in­di­vid­ual who re­sides in the United States of Amer­ica.

De­spite the ac­tiv­i­ties of the gangs, Su­per­in­ten­dent Fran­cis said the divi­sion has seen a re­duc­tion in mur­ders, when com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

How­ever, he said the po­lice were still not happy with the level of vi­o­lence in the divi­sion.

Crime fig­ures, up to the end of Au­gust this year, showed that mur­ders fell from 60 to 55, when com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2017; shoot­ings dropped from 98 to 82, while rob­beries in­creased from 55 to 77 and break-ins jumped from 18 to 32. At the same time 85 il­le­gal guns have been seized in the divi­sion be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber this year.

“We be­lieve that one life is one too much, so we want to have a crime-free so­ci­ety and a crime free divi­sion, so we will con­tinue to press on and to take our op­er­a­tional ac­tiv­i­ties to the crim­i­nal el­e­ments be­cause we know that the peo­ple in our divi­sion need to live free of crime and free from crime,” the po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent said.

(Photo: Garfield Robin­son)

Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer for the St An­drew Divi­sion Su­per­in­ten­dent Gary Fran­cis (left) ad­dresses the me­dia while Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent Shane Mc­calla (cen­tre) and Sergeant Steve Mitchell lis­ten keenly dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at Hunt’s Bay Po­lice Sta­tion in St An­drew, yes­ter­day.

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