KINGSTON –– The first murder-suicide for 2016 rocked the usually quiet community of Park Hall near Frankfield, Clarendon, before dawn on Saturday.
Police confirmed allegations that 35-year-old Junior Wallace, a lance corporal of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) shot his wife Christina Dawkins, 28, a second-year business student at the University of Technology, Jamaica, and then turned the gun on himself at their home in Park Hall.
According to one of Wallace’s elder sisters, Dorreth, who was not present at the time of the incident, the two were found by a niece who lived on the same property in a house beside the couple’s unfinished two-storey home. The couple had a ten-year-old son who was not at home when the incident happened.
It is thought that the tragedy took place around 2 a.m. Saturday. However, the bodies were not found until later in the afternoon when family members started wondering how they had not seen the couple all day and Wallace’s car was still parked outside the house.
“When him come in Friday night time sometimes him sleep late into the morning, so a inna di evening now when dem see di place nuh really open dem went to check. And when dem pull di door and go in, dem see that,” his sister told the Jamaica Observer.
His elder sister stated that she was still in disbelief as he was the one that everybody could relate to. Dorreth who resides in May Pen, the parish capital, added that she had last seen her brother two weeks ago when he picked her up for a weekend visit to Park Hall. He was also the one who dropped her home the Monday morning before he left for work and she stated that he seemed fine then.
However, much could not be ascertained by the Observer about the relationship between Wallace and Dawkins, as grief-stricken relatives were mostly reticent. But one family member who spoke said they “were a friendly couple”.
There were also no reports from family members that they heard any shots the night before or that anything had seemed amiss between the two.
Wallace, who was a past student of the Edwin Allen High School in the parish, was described by some older community members as being a quiet, yet friendly young man, who due to the nature of his job, was only seen on weekends when he came to visit.
“He was a nice guy, nuh talkative, but if him see you out a road him woulda stand up and reason wid you if you and him cool; but otherwise a nuh man weh walk and make trouble,” Park Hall community member Ronald Needham said.
Wallace was described in the same light by yet another elder in the community, Derrick Calder who said he simply couldn’t believe the events that had taken place.
“Last night [Saturday], when mi hear him kill him wife, boy, mi couldn’t come to it till mi go witness it miself and see the two a dem. Everybody did frighten and people a run up and down and did a bawl,” Calder said.
Wallace’s sister Dorreth said the murder-suicide drew
the attention of a massive crowd as this was the first something of this nature had happened in the quiet, rural community.
The family’s close friend Norman McGregor, a former pastor of the New Testament Church not far from the home, said while he could not be sure, he doubted that church was held yesterday due to the shocking nature of the situation.
“It’s a sad case,” McGregor, who is now district overseer for the James Hill Circuit of New Testament Churches, told the Observer.
The minister, who came to see the family at the time of the Observer’s visit, described Wallace as a decent young man, who was humble, loving and cared greatly for his parents.
This is the third tragedy in three years for the family who lost a brother last year as well as their mother in the previous year.