FOR ONE resident, it was like a “scene from a gangster movie” yesterday when Otis ‘Breezy’ Ellis, a taxi operator, was shot and killed and his passengers, five preparatory school children, had to flee for their lives as gunmen opened fire on the car in which they were travelling in Salt Spring, St James.
According to reports from residents of the community, at approximately 7:05 a.m., Ellis and his passengers were travelling along the Salt Spring main road when a group of men, armed with handguns, stepped out into the roadway and opened fire on the car.
“They just step out in the road and start peppering the car with bullets. Somehow, the driver managed to turn the car across the road and jumped out,” said an alleged eyewitness. “While he was being chased down the lane, the children got out of the car and began running as well. Luckily, residents managed to usher them to safety in nearby yards.”
The driver, who is believed to have been hit during the initial attack, reportedly made a gallant attempt to escape but was eventually cornered and killed as his killers sprayed him with multiple rounds.
“Him neva have a chance. From me hear how de man dem a beat it up (firing shots), me know a mash dem mash (kill) him up,” another resident told The Gleaner. “De pickney (the passengers) dem lucky because dem coulda get killed, to.”
In confirming the incident, Sergeant Peter Salkey, the Jamaica Constabulary Force Corporate Communication Unit’s liaison officer for St James, said a team of investigators was dispatched to the scene shortly after the shooting and was still at the scene during the mid-afternoon hours.
“The investigators are still processing the scene. I have made contact with them, but they are not yet able to provide any additional information right now,” said Salkey. “We can only confirm at this time that one man was killed.”
According to a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, there is an ongoing conflict between thugs from two nearby lanes in the community who have been at odds since a student from Green Pond High School, who resided in the area, was killed during a conflict with men from a section of the community.
“This thing has been threatening to get out of hand for quite some time, and now look at this,” said the resident, who noted that a number of influential persons, including political representatives, had been trying to defuse the tension. “This means trouble, big big trouble.”
It was reported that the children who were in the car while it was being shot up were so traumatised by the incident that they had to be kept inside the homes where they had taken refuge until their parents came to retrieve them.