(JAMAICA GLEANER) — Six reputed members of what the police call “a very big and dangerous” criminal network were killed in an alleged fierce fight with the security forces shortly after midnight Saturday, disrupting the Bushman Gang’s reign of terror in central Jamaica.
An intelligence-based operation led the soldiers and the police to the bushy, secluded shelter in Effortville, from which they launched their attacks – a hideout that was to be the gangsters’ last parados until they were overwhelmed by superior firepower.
Highly placed police sources on the ground said that the criminals had a vice-like grip on the community, extracting sexual favours at will and enforcing a code of silence.
“Dem a grind off the girl dem. When dem call dem over, dem haffi come. That is what happens in this garrison,” said a policeman who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press on the matter.
“One night, we down a di May Pen Station, and we hear sustained gunfire, rifle fire, for one hour and five minutes. The next day, there was not one official report,” the cop added, emphasising the Bushman Gang’s power.
At least two of the deceased, 25-year-old Leon Rose, otherwise called ‘Hitler’, and Zemmar Nelson, 24, aka ‘Terminator Boy’, have been confirmed by the police to be ranking members of the gang who were high on Clarendon’s list of most wanted men.
Both had been wanted for shootings and murders. Another of the deceased was identified by his mother as 18-year-old Fabian Fuller, of an Arnold Road address in the community. The other three were not identified up to press time.
Two toddlers, a baby, a woman, and an elderly man were safely removed from the house following the shoot-out.
An M16, an AK-47, and a shotgun were recovered from the scene and more than 100 spent shells collected, the police said.
In a press statement Sunday afternoon, the Jamaica Defence Force said that the targeted operation commenced at approximately 12:10 a.m.
Senior Superintendent of Police Stephanie Lindsay, who heads the communications arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, was unable to offer an estimation of the membership of the gang but described it as a “very big and dangerous gang that has been terrorising May Pen for years”.
Superintendent Chris Phillips of the May Pen police told The Gleaner that the house was the gang’s headquarters where they celebrated after carrying out murders and other crimes.
He said that the topography of the area was difficult to traverse and to police.
“These men know the bushes very well, so it is very difficult to catch them. What hit them was the element of surprise,” Phillips told The Gleaner.
“The soldiers came under some serious attack last night, but the police moved in to give some assistance.”
Most residents, though fearful of speaking with The Gleaner, shared that sustained gunfire was a morbid soundtrack that had been normalised in the community.
Shodia Blair, mother of Fuller, said that she could not confirm whether her son was a member of the gang but admitted that he had often been lured into bad company. His father, she said, is a policeman.
“Him went to go collect his licence the other day to start working as a security guard in Montego Bay, but I don’t know what happened with him and them down there. Mi nah pretty up nothing. Him stubborn!” Blair said.
Fuller’s grandmother, Sarah Shortridge, said that she could not fathom living without her “favourite grandson”.
His girlfriend, who requested anonymity, said she last saw him online around 11:20 p.m. Saturday and thought that all was well with him.
Clarendon is one of 10 police divisions under a state of emergency. Up to July 25, there was a 33 per cent year-on-year decline in murders, from 85 in 2019 to 57 in 2020.