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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – THE police say the caretaker of the Church Of God of Prophecy on Old Harbour Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has been held in connection with last month’s murder of pastor James Johnson.
His apprehension comes weeks after the police have been trying to have a sit-down with him following the brutal killing of James inside the church last month.
According to the constabulary’s Corporate Communications Unit, Johnson, a 29-year-old pastor from Union Estate in the parish, was reportedly in the middle of teaching a class, about 5:00 pm on September 20, when a gunman entered and shot him several times.
Acting head of the Major Investigation Division Superintendent Paul Thomas told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the suspect was found hiding in the ceiling of a house in Spanish Town, St Catherine, approximately 11:00 am Saturday.
“We have the suspect in custody, who we will be questioning in regards to the murder. There are certain leads which we are following that led us to taking him into custody, and we wish to question him in the presence of his attorney as soon as the attorney is available,” Superintendent Thomas said.
“This is someone who we have been trying to reach to have a conversation with him over the past two weeks, and he has been avoiding us in many ways, meaning that he has been speaking to us, making appointments, and not turning up. We actually went in search of evidence and actually found him. Based on that, and other issues, he was taken into custody,” the superintendent said.
Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, in condemning the killing of one of the youngest licensed ordained ministers in the Church Of God of Prophecy, said then: “The invasion of murder into a church — a sacred place of worship — is utterly reprehensible”.
“James Johnson will be remembered as a bright, passionate Jamaican who was engaged in his community, his church and nation-building,” the security minister said then.
The Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches had also condemned Johnson’s killing.
“As church, we hold dear the sanctity of life in regard to all. We are shocked and disturbed. We note with alarm the setting in which young Minister Johnson was cut down brutally. We also grieve at the violation of the place of refuge and the incursion on boundaries protecting the sanctity of that space which has been dedicated for the things of God and for uplifting people overall,” the group said in a statement last month.