(JAMAICA GLEANER) — Jamaican dancehall entertainer Brigadier Jerry has been slapped with a battery of gun-related charges in the United States, but the incident may have been triggered by a prank gone wrong, his wife has said.
The 62-year-old singer, whose real name is Robert Russell, has been charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, first-degree robbery, first-degree reckless endangerment, carrying a pistol without a permit, illegal transfer of a pistol, and altering a serial number on a firearm.
He has been held on a US$250,000 bond, stemming from a November 11 incident in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA.
Russell will return to the Waterbury Superior Court, 400 Grand Street, on November 27.
According to Russell’s wife, who has requested anonymity because she fears her job may be jeopardised because of association with the incident, it has been several months since the entertainer has visited Bertie’s West Indian and American Restaurant in Waterbury, Connecticut, the reported scene of the shooting.
“He hasn’t been down there in so long, several months, but he decided to go and hang out with his friends since he has been in the house all along,” she told The Gleaner yesterday evening.
“I was told that what triggered everything is that they (his friends) took his wallet and hid it, and he had a lot of money in his wallet. When he was asking for it, they were all laughing … and that aggravated the situation,” she said in between tears.
His wife of 35 years said she was told that her husband stormed out and returned, scooping up the money on the table where he and his friends had been playing.
“I wasn’t there, but I suppose he was saying, ‘When me get back my wallet, unnu will get back unnu money,’” she said, adding that her husband had never been accused of robbery.
“I have never seen Briggy display that kind of anger before. I’ve known him over 35 years, and he is the kind of person who will try to cool down a situation. This is sad, and it is a tough time for my family, but I have to stay strong.”
Russell appeared at a court hearing on Tuesday. His wife said she has not seen him since.
“I went to look for him today, but there is a lot of paperwork to be filled in and a process to follow, and that will take two weeks,” she said.
The family has retained a lawyer, and they are seeking to come up with the required 10 per cent of the bail bond.
“I want to especially thank those persons who have called to offer their assistance and words of comfort. Although I have told them to hold off, it’s still nuff respect and thanks,” she said.
Russell, she said, has asked her to apologise to his fans on his behalf.
When contacted yesterday, a management representative at Bertie’s, who did not disclose his name, told The Gleaner that there had not been any fallout with customers “at the moment”.
The representative said that he would not speak about the incident because it was the subject of a police investigation.
Who is Brigadier Jerry?
Brigadier Jerry is known for his work with Daddy U-Roy’s King Stur-Gav Hi-Fi sound system, which was based in Kingston, alongside Josey Wales and Charlie Chaplin. Among his popular singles are Three Blind Mice, Ram Dance Master , and Jamaica Jamaica.
Brigadier Jerry recorded for Studio One during the 1980s and had his first hits with producer Delroy Stansbury on the Jwyanza label in 1982.
These included Pain (on the Answer/Never Let Go riddim) and Gwan a School. In 1983, he released his first album, which was a recording of a live performance, Live at the Controls.
His first studio album, Jamaica, Jamaica, was released in 1985.
He has recorded many albums and continues to put out an occasional single, but is chiefly a live performer.
Brigadier Jerry forged a path for those who followed, focusing on subject matters that were nearly always spiritual and cultural in nature, mixed with a sense of humour.
He is also the brother of another dancehall icon, Sister Nancy.