Fri | Oct 30, 2020

Family ‘numb’ at killing of soldier

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 12:09 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer

Twenty-one-year-old Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier, Private Reneil King, fell victim to hoodlums who attacked members of the security forces in Milk River, Clarendon, late Thursday.

King was part of a police-military team that was deployed to a location on an anti-narcotics operation.

A JDF statement said that a joint team arrived at the location at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and came under gunfire from men in the area. It is reported that the team provided first aid to King before he was airlifted by a JDF helicopter to the May Pen Hospital and subsequently to the University Hospital of the West Indies where he later died.

Fervent love for the army

King, a past student of Foga Road High School in Clarendon, was an active member of the National Interschool Brigade (NIB). His former cadet leader Mickoyon Paisley told The Gleaner that King had a fervent love for the army. “From ever since he joined the cadet, his dream was to join the army and he achieved that. He also wanted to rise to the highest rank in the army.”

Paisley lauded King, stating that he made regular visits to the NIB headquarters and made donations to support the dreams of young cadets with similar goals. “He’s one of the persons who would come and give back to the programme. He would come and talk to the younger cadets in the school and donate funds to purchase uniforms for them. He’s a young man who remembers where he is coming from.”

Chemistry and integrated science teacher at the Foga Road High, Heman Lewis, remembers King as a quiet and jovial student. “As he got older, he became more focused in school, and he was always certain that he wanted to be in the army. He had great pride in representing any uniform he’s wearing whether it’s school, National Interschool Brigade or in his profession. He’s possibly the neatest soldier you’ll see in his uniform. He did what he loved and died doing it,” said Lewis.

King was an active arts lover who participated in several Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) competitions.

One relative told The Gleaner that the family was trying hard to accept the tragic loss. “Everyone is numb and sad, especially my uncle.” She said King was respectable, “full of manners and very nice.”