Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Hero dad, daughter killed in New Hope

Published:Thursday | February 27, 2020 | 12:23 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Dawn Nelson (right) is consoled by a family member moments before being rushed to hospital on Wednesday.
Residents of New Hope, Westmoreland, gather, on Wednesday, outside the small shop in which Valney Kerr and his daughter, Brianna, were killed the night before.

Dozens of family members and close friends of 47-year-old Vanley Kerr and his daughter, Brianna, 18, were still in shock after they were gunned down in sight of other relatives while inside their small family shop at New Hope district in Negril, Westmoreland, on Tuesday night.

The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. while Kerr, his common-law-wife, Dawn Nelson, Brianna, and others were enjoying a game of dominoes.

Two men posing as customers reportedly entered the establishment and ordered cigarettes. As Brianna went around the counter to attend to the men, the attackers brandished handguns and ordered them to lie down on the floor.

Before the teenage girl could react, one of the gunmen turned his weapon on her, shooting her multiple times. Kerr sought to heroically come to his daughter’s aid but was shot several times.

“As wi go dung pon the floor, dem shoot Brianna, and Vanley jump up, and dem shoot him, too,” Nelson muttered as she wept bitterly.

The gunmen then calmly walked from the shop, eyewitness reported, and escaped.

Kerr and his daughter were rushed to the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, where the teenager was pronounced dead. Kerr died while undergoing treatment.

Nelson told The Gleaner that her daughter and common-law husband were two of the humblest human beings imaginable. Kerr was a security guard at a Negril cambio while Brianna had recently left Rusea’s High, The Gleaner learnt.

The grieving mom remembered her daughter as a brilliant business scholar who had passed six subjects. She had been pursuing hospitality studies in the Westmoreland capital.

The distraught mother and widow later broke down and was rushed to hospital for treatment.

Westmoreland is part of a tri-parish western arc under a state of emergency.

Tuesday’s double killing has pushed the parish’s murder count to seven since the start of the year, a 50 per cent reduction compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

More than 210 Jamaicans have been killed this year.