THE ALLEGED mastermind behind a spate of robberies across western Jamaica was killed after he and his cronies reportedly engaged the security forces in a blazing gun battle after yet another multimillion-dollar heist in Montego Bay yesterday.
One of Melville Ottey’s co-conspirators, who remains unidentified, was also slain.
Ottey, 47, resides between Mt Salem and Grinnion Land in Green Pond, St James.
Three other men who constituted a group of five escaped.
Reports are that shortly after noon, a team of officers responded to a radio message that armed men had carried out a multimillion-dollar heist in the vicinity of Westgate Hills, robbing a Chinese national of $8 million.
The businessman was also robbed of $12 million in Reading, St James, last year.
The police, who were subsequently joined by soldiers, rushed to Grinnion Land, which is located on the Green Pond-Cornwall Courts border, where further intelligence led them to a two-floor house that was being constructed by Ottey.
The lawmen surrounded the house and allegedly came under fire in a gunfight that lasted more than 10 minutes.
When the shooting subsided, Ottey and the unidentified man were found inside the house with multiple gunshot wounds. They were taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Ottey has been under the police’s radar for some time, a law-enforcement source told The Gleaner, especially in relation to the targeting of the Chinese business community.
“We have been on the trail of these men for some time now, especially Ottey, who is fingered in a number of armed robberies, which include the recent robbery and murder of businessman Kenny Li, who was murdered in downtown Montego Bay earlier this year,” the lawman said.
“We believe he (Ottey) was behind major armed robberies in Trelawny, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, and here in St James,” the lawman, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press, said.
However, Ottey’s family, including his father, Lloyd Ottey, is claiming that he was murdered by the soldiers, who surrounded the house and ordered him outside, then opening fire.
“Mi son call mi (on the telephone) an mi start fi walk go dung deh, but the soldier man dem run mi back up and sey mi fi gwaan a mi yard,” said the elder Ottey.
Ottey’s girlfriend, who identified herself only as Dawn, told The Gleaner that he was shocked by the shooting.
Errol Chattoo, director of complaints at the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), visited the location and took statements from Ottey’s family.