, pub-0506098242811370, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 ads.txt

Peacemaker shot dead at meeting

BARRACKS ROAD, Westmoreland — The killings continued in Westmoreland yesterday despite a freshly imposed state of public emergency (SOE) in the police division in that parish. One of two men killed was said to be working to bring peace to his community.

He has been identified as Shandane Campbell who is believed to be in his early 20s and is from the community of Grotto, located near the area where several people were killed over the weekend.

Campbell, said to be a university student, was a member of the Peace Management Initiative (PMI). He was gunned down on the compound of a resource centre where a PMI training was taking place.

The identity of the other man, who was found in a pool of blood across the road, was not known up to press time. He was not part of the training.

According to Superintendent Robert Gordon, who is in charge of the Westmoreland Police Division, students were at the back of the Y’s Menettes Resource Centre having lunch when a man walked onto the property, looked around and left.

The man reportedly returned approximately five minutes later and opened fire, hitting Campbell and another man, according to Superintendent Gordon. He stressed that none of the men were shot by the police.

However, Heather Blake, the centre administrator, gave a different account of what took place. She said it was one person who was shot dead on the compound. She said the other person was killed across the road on Hudson Street. This was corroborated by a minister of religion who was also on location. The man of the cloth said Campbell, who died in front of him, was absent from training on Monday but came out yesterday.

Superintendent Gordon disclosed that while the motive for the killings was not yet known, the police have identified a person of interest whom they were actively pursuing.

“One thing I can say to you [is] that nothing thus far is suggesting that any of the young men are a part of any gang or criminal groupings,” he said.

Blake said her staff and tenants have been traumatised by the incident. She is hoping the police will be able to apprehend the person responsible for the killings, as she spoke of the important work Campbell had been doing in the community.

“He is a very nice young man who was trying to make a difference. This was actually a PMI training session and PMI [members] go around into the communities and when people are afraid to talk to the police, they are the ones who they go to,” she said. “They are like violence interrupters; they assist persons in resolving conflict within the community. Today we have lost a knowledgeable and respectable young man who could make a difference.”

Superintendent Gordon said the police have been trying their best with the limited resources available.

“It is indeed a vast area and we have to be strategic in our deployment. When we do our risk assessments, we deploy accordingly,” said Gordon. “Unfortunately, there might be an area that did not come up on your radar as a place that you would want to deploy and an incident happened,” he added.

Over the weekend, gunmen went on a bloody rampage, killing more than three and injuring at least one at Ricketts Street and Seaton Crescent. Gang warfare has been attributed to the flare-up of violence in the area.

“I want to use this opportunity to say to the residents that this thing has been going on for years and the only end result is death or displacement. You have the power to stop and we are here to work with you to stop it. We seek your support in putting an end to this stupidness and this madness that has been going on for so many years,” Superintendent Gordon said.