ST JOHN’S – Two male criminal suspects were shot dead and left lying on the side of Vema Lane in Lightfoot East for hours following a shootout with the police.
The men were identified as Travis Ten Pound Martin-Bailey and Jamele Marlo Hurst, both known to the court for serious gun-related crimes. They were dressed in camouflage clothing resembling army attire and had what the police described as high-powered weapons in their possession.
Residents reported they were awakened by the sound of gunfire which, according to some of them, lasted 15 “or more” minutes.
“I thought it was firecrackers because of how long this thing was going on” one man said, while another villager said “my windows were rattling because of all the explosions and noise.”
A bus driver who lives nearby said that he thought the noise was from a damaged transformer on a utility post in the area.
Many residents said that when they looked outside, they could hardly see what was happening because it was dark when the action started at 1:30 a.m.
One resident said she saw a car speed out of the street when the shooting started, and according to a police source, it is believed that that car was being driven by a third person who was with the two men who were killed in the shooting exchange.
It was reportedly a tip which prompted the Rapid Response Unit and the Special Services Unit to go to the area to investigate “suspicious activity” outside the Classic View apartments.
When they saw and confronted the suspects, the men allegedly opened fire on them.
They were, however, shot and killed and their bodies were left on the road until after 8 a.m. as the police investigated and searched the area for spent shells and other evidence.
Many residents admitted that fear gripped Lightfoot and the surrounding communities as far as Herbert’s as the sound of gunshots echoed and persisted.
When Observer media arrived on the scene in the wee hours, only the police were on Vema Lane, but the lights were on in many homes. Dogs howled and barked for some time before the place fell silent again after 4 a.m.
It was only after the sun rose that the community came to life and abuzz with activity. Many people gathered in the streets to recount their experiences and what they saw.
There was also praise for the police for their “bravery” in stopping the suspects.
As with every case involving police shootings, an investigation will be done, a top-ranking officer said, to determine whether the police acted lawfully.
Residents collectively didn’t seem to care about this, as many of them said they’d rather not know if the police were wrong since they “feel better” knowing the armed men were intercepted.
Many expressed relief, saying that they expect that the outcome of the vigilance and quick response of the police in this case will help reduce the persistent “suspicious” activity in the area.