By Kadeem Joseph
The family of officer Clifton Common and the ranks of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda have been plunged into mourning after he lost his life in the line of duty on Thursday afternoon.
Sources close to the incident reported that a “mentally unstable inmate” struck the officer in the head at the St John’s Police Station.
He was later rushed to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre, leaving behind a bloody scene.
Stratcom, the force’s communications arm, confirmed that lawmen are investigating the incident.
A release from the police public relations outfit said, “Common was reportedly injured in the line of duty by a male detained at St John’s Police Station around 1pm on Thursday. He was taken to Mount St John’s Medical Centre where was pronounced dead around 2.25pm.”
While the details surrounding the incident that led to the death of the officer are still unclear, Observer was at the scene of the crime that led to the young man’s initial arrest.
It was a peculiar scene outside the Public Works Department when residents were startled by the sound of breaking glass early Thursday morning.
Onlookers soon realised the sound came from the Clement EM Bird Masonic Centre on St John’s Street.
After breaking several windows with large stones, the young man then threw another into the front door, smashing it open.
While the small crowd, mainly employees of Public Works, that gathered at around 7am had thought this was a simple act of vandalism or burglary, instead of entering the building, the visibly disturbed young man paced back and forth near the gate shouting.
“Me glad me dey pan dah news. When 3030 come all ah aryou go boy before me boy. You tink me fraid ah one ah aryou,” he declared.
He added, “All ah aryou fraid fu dead but me nuh fraid fu dead. Ah wan lion me be… wan lion.”
The unidentified man also said he would not be taking any vaccines, bemoaned the number of drugs on the streets of the country and ranted about the death of one of his friends who he believes lost his life to “obeah”.
But things took an interesting turn when another man, said to be the young man’s grandfather, opened the gates and approached him with a hug much to the surprise of onlookers, seemingly de-escalating the situation and leading the young man off the premises.
Three officers arrived on the scene soon after and apprehended the young man, disarming him of a stick he clutched in one hand, before placing him into their truck.
However, the uneventful arrest took a dramatic turn after the police hurried off, sirens blaring, only to get into an accident at the corner of St John’s Street and Friars Hill Road.
While several eyewitnesses wondered what led to the actions of the youth earlier on Thursday, none would have guessed that an officer, described as dedicated and devoted, would have allegedly lost his life to the same hands.