Was it mur­der or rob­bery?

Res­i­dents protest shoot­ing death of man af­ter bus in­ci­dent

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Corey Robin­son Staff Re­porter corey.robin­son@glean­erjm.com

ESMIE SIN­CLAIR rum­maged through her dead nephew’s knap­sack, yank­ing out items of cloth­ing, empty juice bot­tles, and his muddy sneak­ers as ref­er­ence that 27-year-old Al­bert Roberts was a hard worker.

Of­fi­cial po­lice re­ports are that Roberts was shot dead on Wed­nes­day by a bus driver af­ter he and a friend at­tacked a con­duc­tor on Span­ish Town Road in Kingston. The in­ci­dent oc­curred at about 12:05 p.m.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said Roberts and the friend boarded the Kingston­bound Coaster bus at Plan­ta­tion Heights and re­fused to pay their fares. Along the way, they were asked to exit the bus, but a fe­male pas­sen­ger of­fered to pay for the re­main­der of their jour­ney.

What hap­pened next re­mained a cause of con­tention yes­ter­day.

Po­lice say Roberts and his friend pulled a knife and ice pick and at­tacked the bus op­er­a­tors and that the driver pulled a li­censed firearm and shot Roberts mul­ti­ple times.

ROBERTS WASN’T ARMED

But res­i­dents who blocked a sec­tion of the busy Span­ish Town Road us­ing any de­bris they could find dis­puted the story. They said Roberts, a con­struc­tion worker, was never armed.

“Him is no gun­man. Him is no trou­ble­maker. Him is no thief. Him don’t even raise him voice loud. We never had any prob­lem with him. See it there: is pure clothes in the bag,” said Sin­clair, a pic­ture of con­fu­sion amid the pro­test­ers with plac­ards hoisted as high as voices were loud.

“Is kill them kill off the yute. ... I can’t be­lieve them kill Al like that and run go tell po­lice bout rob­bery. Is no rob­bery!” shouted Denise, an­other res­i­dent who openly lam­basted po­lice­men who had cleared the road­block and were se­cur­ing the area.

Karl Blake, coun­cil­lor for the Green­which Town di­vi­sion, turned up to show his sup­port to the res­i­dents yes­ter­day. He said Op­po­si­tion Leader Por­tia Simp­son Miller had made con­tact with Sin­clair and had agreed to as­sist with burial ar­range­ments for her nephew.

The In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion of In­ves­ti­ga­tions has launched a probe into the shoot­ing.

JERMAINE BARN­ABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Esmie Sin­clair dis­plays the cloth­ing of Al­bert Roberts dur­ing a protest along a sec­tion of Span­ish Town Road in Kingston yes­ter­day.

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