Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Slain 21-y-o insisted ‘badman nuh work’, says mom - St Andrew South still a hotbed for crime despite SOE

Published:Friday | May 8, 2020 | 12:06 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
In this photo taken on Tuesday, a resident washes away blood from the spot along Phillip Avenue in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew, where 21-year-old Shannon Staple was murdered on Sunday morning.
In this photo taken on Tuesday, a resident washes away blood from the spot along Phillip Avenue in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew, where 21-year-old Shannon Staple was murdered on Sunday morning.

The rising murders and bloodletting in the St Andrew South Police Division is not lost on Ileen Graham, whose 21-year-old son, Shannon Staple, was killed by gunmen on Phillip Avenue in Olympic Gardens on Sunday morning.

Despite the police division being under a state of emergency since July last year, criminals have continued their murderous rampage, racking up 51 of the 442 murders recorded islandwide up to May 2. The deadly toll represents a 10.9 per cent increase over the 46 murders recorded in the division over the same period last year.

Yesterday, an emotional Graham told The Gleaner that despite her best efforts, her son was determined to chart a path of crime from early on, and she could not steer him away from it.

She recalled sitting inside her house, browsing Facebook on Sunday when she was jolted by gunfire outside about 10:17 a.m.

As she got up to check what was happening, there was a second round of fire.

“By time mi go out and pull the gate, mi go out deh and go over him and seh, ‘See it deh. A dis it lead to because you wouldn’t listen to mi’,” Graham told The Gleaner.

She said that Staple refused to work – “because badman don’t work” – and she wished that his father hadn’t died in December 2012 because maybe he would have been more successful in keeping him on the right track.

Graham said that she had to put her son out of the house as she did not want his criminal deeds to cause her or his siblings to be targeted.

INVOLVED IN STEALING

“Him was a hard nut and you couldn’t stop him. I never yet see him with more than one phone, but mi know him thief phone,” she said. “One time mi affi carry him go station fi mek a girl get back har phone.

“Him big bredda offer him work, and him tell him bredda seh ‘badman nuh work’. Every time him do things mi nuh like, mi tell him fi leave. Him get shot multiple times for stealing. He was involved in shootings, too,” she revealed.

At the Olympic Gardens Police Station, an officer told The Gleaner that Staple was well known to them as a criminal and was believed to be involved in robberies and shootings. The officer said that Graham had taken the boy to the station on numerous occasions for them to talk to him, but he refused to change.

The Gleaner was told, too, that they currently have no leads in his murder but were investigating.

The officer acknowledged that gang activity remains vibrant in St Andrew South despite the state of emergency.

On Monday, 20-year-old Neil Anthony Clarke of a York Avenue address in Kingston 11 was reportedly killed in a gun battle with cops. A 9mm Browning pistol with a magazine containing eleven 9mm cartridges was seized.

Yesterday, when The Gleaner contacted commanding officer for the division Superintendent Wayne Cameron for his take on what was fuelling murders, he said that he was “not in a position to speak about that now”.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com