Child killed playing with gun
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The community of Hatfield, just outside Mandeville, Jamaica, is in mourning following the death of six year-old Joshua Hill — shot as he and other children played with a gun they had found hidden in his backyard.
The Mandeville police said that at about 3:15 pm on Thursday, Joshua and two other children, ages four and nine, were playing at home. One reportedly moved a bucket that was in the back of the yard and found a gun underneath it.
“They then began playing with this gun, following which loud explosions were heard. It was later discovered that Joshua had been shot. He was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” the police report said.
The police said they are seeking Dwayne Allen who they believe can help in their investigations.
When the Observer visited Hatfield yesterday, the residents were distrssed. They told how a child, Joshua’s cousin, had pointed the gun and pulled the trigger apparently thinking it was a toy.
“It is very sad… this home is a home for the kids… all 15, 20 kids play here after school,” one resident told the Observer.
Audrey Wallace, a teacher, told how she first met Joshua a year ago when he was placed in her class at Ward Park’s Basic School. As she grieved with family members, she remembered him being “very, very friendly and affectionate” and “a musical child”. Another teacher from the school, Carol Powell taught Joshua at the age of three and described the situation as simply “heart-rending”.
Joshua’s 65-year-old grandmother Pearlita Torrey-Hill, who said her blood pressure had soared since the incident, told of how it had changed travel plans “a whole heap” for the family. She told the Observer that after many years of trying to take Joshua and other members of her family to live with her abroad, they were finally scheduled to leave the island next week.
She spoke sadly of her memories of Joshua. She recalled how he would take water from a pipe in the yard to store in a barrel while instructing the other children as if he was a mature adult. She despairingly hoped that the authorities would not “take away the child” that had pulled the trigger.
Superintendent Lascelles Taylor of the Mandeville Police alleged that the man believed to be the owner of the gun is a “habitual criminal” who lives at the family house. The incident, Taylor said, should be used as a warning that “parents and family members should not encourage members of the family to engage in wrongdoing.” (Jamaica Observer)