Toddler, pastor among Jamaicans murdered

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday April 30, 2010 – A five-year-old girl and a pastor were among several people shot dead in Jamaica on a bloody Thursday that saw the number of murder victims inching closer to 530.

The child, Christiana Salmon, was killed as her father, Christopher, was driving her and her nine-year-old sister, Krishelle, to school.

According to police reports, Mr Salmon’s vehicle was fired upon as he tried to get through a roadblock set up in the community of Glendevon in Montego Bay, where residents were protesting Wednesday’s killing of two of their neighbours in a shootout with lawmen.

All three occupants of the vehicle were hit but the father, who was reportedly shot in the mouth and neck, managed to drive away and reach the hospital.

Christina succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head, while her father and sister remain hospitalised in serious condition.

The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper said Mr Salmon was a very strong advocate for peace in his home community and was a founding member of the Rose Heights Covenant of Peace, an organisation founded seven months ago with a mandate to rid that community of lawlessness.

A delivery truck driver Newton John, was also killed by gunmen in the same area that Mr Salmons’ vehicle was shot up.

The death of church deacon Michael Dixon, who had also been involved in several crime reduction initiatives in the community of Spanish Town, had come earlier in the day, around 5 am, at his home.

It was reported that he was shot in the face and upper body as he said morning prayers.

“This speaks to the level of criminality in the country. No one is an exception; women, children and old people, everyone is a potential victim,” the Mayor of Spanish Town, Andrew Wheatley Wheatley told the media following Dixon’s killing.

Lawmen are also investigating the murder of 21-year-old Shamar Elliott who was riding to work on his bicycle when he was shot in the head, back and chest.

In another incident, Suckay Cross, 19, and Damion Walford, 27, were shot dead as they stood at the side of the road. Those murders were the first for the day, occurring at 12:10 am.