In a shocking turn of events, the tranquil community of Newland in St. Thomas, typically known for its low crime rate, was marred by a horrifying incident on Thursday. A 71-year-old man, Valin Strachan, and his 70-year-old wife, Elizabeth Strachan, fell victim to a brutal gun attack, adding to the rising toll of violence in the parish. This gruesome act marked the third homicide within a span of 12 hours, pushing the total number of murders in St. Thomas to 24 for the year, abruptly interrupting its trajectory to end 2023 with one of the lowest murder rates, trailing closely behind Portland at 14. The Morant Bay Police reported that the Strachan couple was shot around 8 PM, sending shockwaves through the Yallahs community. Distressed residents, having heard the disturbing explosions, promptly alerted the authorities. Upon arrival, Assistant Commissioner of Police Gary Griffiths, the Commanding Officer for Area Five, described the grisly scene where the elderly couple lay lifeless in their yard, victims of gunshot wounds to the upper body.

The law enforcement agencies are diligently pursuing leads, with ACP Griffiths assuring a meticulous and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. The devastating incident followed closely on the heels of another act of violence in Easington, where 40-year-old Kemar Burton fell prey to a drive-by shooting at approximately 2:30 PM. Burton, innocently walking along the compound main road, was confronted by assailants in a car who engaged in conversation before mercilessly shooting him multiple times in the upper body. Superintendent Allison Byfield, the Commanding Officer for the parish, confirmed Burton’s tragic demise at the scene. Although the overall murder rate in St. Thomas had shown a decline compared to the previous year, the recent surge has raised concerns among authorities. With 24 homicides year-to-date, St. Thomas is now positioned just behind Trelawny, emphasizing the urgency for heightened security measures in the parish.


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