(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Relatives of Latoya Monte, the 34-year-old woman who was fatally shot during an alleged confrontation with the police moments after 6:00 pm on Monday in the Kingston 10 area, are insisting that she was murdered, contrary to information released by the constabulary.
The police, in a tersely worded statement issued yesterday, said Monte, of Maxfield Avenue in Kingston “was fatally shot during a confrontation with the police at about 6:50 pm on Monday, June 29 in East Bloomsbury Road, Kingston 10”.
The statement said a chrome and black Lugar CZ75B pistol, with eight 9mm rounds, was seized during the incident.
Police said the matter has been reported to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau of the constabulary.
Distressed relatives of the deceased woman, whom they yesterday described as a nice, normal, young, single woman who was enjoying her life and would not harm a fly, said the police were concealing what truly took place and have accused them of being secretive and reluctant to answer their queries or speak with them. They said the shocking news of the death of the “cherished” sister and daughter came to them in the dead of night hours after it took place.
One of the deceased’s brothers, Kevin Monte, told the Jamaica Observer that: “When I went and identified the body last night I was told by the police sergeant that it was sometime around 2:30 in the afternoon [that there was] an altercation between my sister and a taxi driver on Hagley Park Road. The passenger in her vehicle was a male. The passenger, they said, pulled a gun on the taxi driver; the taxi driver drove away, made a phone call to the police that someone pulled a gun on him and gave them the licence plate and… ray ray…” Monte recounted.
“So the police drove through the area [Richmond Park and Hagley Park] and in the evening part them buck up the vehicle, pull over the driver, and dem seh she back a gun pon dem and dem shoot har, kill har. Them claim seh dem have di gun,” he told the Observer.
He said, however, he was later told that his sister had exited her vehicle and that at the time of the fatal incident she was alone.
“The male wasn’t there, she alone was there in the evening. They are saying she pull a gun on them. Me need to see the police report,” he said.
According to Monte, it took some time before the police informed the family of Latoya’s death.
“She’s my younger sister, nobody knows yet what happened, and we are trying to speak to the police but they keep telling us they will call us back and nothing. My mom is distressed, it is her only daughter, she has nuff sons but that’s her only daughter. The story we are getting it sounds like murder to us,” said another brother, Leon.
“My sister was a British citizen with a Jamaican father, she lived here and Jamaica for the last three years. She was a nice, normal girl and she was shot and killed by the police in Jamaica and that doesn’t make sense to us here,” he said.
Meanwhile, INDECOM, in a statement issued to the media late yesterday afternoon, said the allegations are that the deceased was to be the subject of a personal search and she requested privacy for that search to be conducted, which was agreed upon. During that search, it is reported that the deceased produced a firearm which resulted in a shooting incident. A chrome and black 9mm luger was allegedly recovered from the scene.
INDECOM has appealed to people who may have witnessed the incident to contact its offices and provide any information, including photos or video footage that they may have. It said people with information about the incident are being asked to call INDECOM at (876) 968-8875, (876) 968-1932 or message the agency on WhatsApp at 876-553-5555.
It further said the officers involved will be required to provide statements to the commission and attend its offices for interviews. The service weapons and the alleged recovered firearm were processed, boxed, and sealed for testing at the government’s laboratory.
The commission also said it will continue to liaise with the family on the investigative process and provide updates as necessary.