The piercing wail of 51-year-old Loreen Powell set off a flood of tears from those around her yesterday morning in the gritty squatter community of Mona Commons, St Andrew, as she remembered her two daughters who were killed by gunmen at their gate less than 24 hours earlier.
Powell’s daughters, 31-year-old Shauna-Kay “Tiffany” Hunter and 23-year-old Raenae “Tassy” Martell, were gunned down at about 2:15pm on Thursday while they celebrated Tassy’s birthday, and based on the accounts of eyewitnesses, the two sisters had been marked for death.
“The two bike ride up and di pillion dem jump off and say, ‘Nobody move’ as the one in full black pull a gun,” said one person who was among those in the lane to mark Tassy’s birthday.
“Them me see him point the gun pon Tassy and me hear bow, and me see the blood start come from her chest right beside where she had her baby. At that time me start run and me see Tassy run in the yard and him kick the gate and run in behind her.
All me hear is pure shot while me run left me two babies, one a one-year-old and the next one a eight,” added the alleged eyewitness.
While that gunman was targeting Tassy, the other one was chasing her sister Tiffany into a nearby lane firing repeatedly until she fell on the road with multiple gunshot wounds. Having killed the two sisters the men jumped back on the two bikes, whose drivers had kept the engines running. They fired two shots in the air without targeting anyone as they made their escape, underscoring that their two intended victims had been shot.
Yesterday, Powell could not hold back the tears as she tried to make sense of why anyone would target her only children.
“Jesus Christ, a mi two pickney dem and mi no have any more. Me know them no do nothing,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer.
“Yesterday (Thursday) was Tassy birthday and normally she wouldn’t sit down out here so, but through a har birthday she buy some rum and sit down out here so. Me and dem did sit down and me get up and go in. When me go inside me hear brap, brap, brap, brap, so me a try to come out.
But when me a try come out me realise say somebody block the door. When me finally push the door and look, a me baby (Tassy) mi see lie down on the ground with her baby on top of har. The way me frighten me just run out because the baby, the side of har face blood up so mi did think she dead because she nah bawl or nutten,” said Powell.
“A mi cousin say to me the next one lay down round there so dead, too,” added Powell before declaring that her two daughters were murdered despite not being involved in any wrongdoing.
Powell noted that Tassy was killed leaving behind three children, the one-year-old she had in her hands when she was shot, a four-year-old and a six-year-old. Her other daughter has left behind an eight-year-old son.
“Me weak, me weak. Dem left me with four grandchildren but me will take care of them. God will give me the strength. Why them couldn’t kill me instead? At least one of them should beside me now to help me mourn,” added Powell, as her cries to God became louder.
“Judgement, judgement, but me leave them to God,” declared Powell as she moved to try to console another grieving relative.
Detectives from the Half-Way-Tree Police Criminal Investigation Branch were yet to establish a motive for the double murder.
The police are appealing to persons who may be able to assist investigators to contact the Half-Way-Tree police at 876-926-8184-5, Crime Stop at 311 or police 119 emergency number.