SHOOTING DEATH SPARKS OUTRAGE

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As residents join the Cedar Grove community in mourning the death of 20-year-old Xavier Thomas who was gunned down Friday night, many are demanding more action from the police to curb and solve crimes.
Thomas was shot multiple times while she and a group of people were outside a food shop in Cedar Grove around 9:05 pm. 
Two men,  said to be her cousins, were also injured in the drive-by shooting attack.
Some members of the community yesterday told OBSERVER media they are still trying to come to grips with the “harsh reality” of what happened, while adding that they were saddened that an “innocent” life was lost to crime.
One of the dead woman’s cousins said he was a few feet away from the shop when he heard “pow, pow, pow.”
The man said after the first three shots rang out, people panicked and started running and screaming, and then “plenty mo’ shots fire after that.”
“At first when I hear the three noise, I thought is firecracker or something, seriously. But then we realise that shots was firing from the car, and people was runnin’ everywhere,” he recalled.
“It shock me, I talking to you here now and I still can’t believe. I was high from drinking some beers by the pool shop and when the thing happen, is like the alcohol come outta me. I shocked man, they killed an innocent person,” the man said.
The man said people on the scene were “in tears” and many others who expressed outrage at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre after being informed of Thomas’ death, lamented that the police are not doing enough to fight crime.
“The police came and told us they know who did it, but I’m saying that if they know these men involved in things how come they are not always monitoring these people?” a woman posited after a police officer spoke to a group of relatives outside the hospital.
The officer said the incident appears to be linked to another gun crime committed earlier this year and may be a form of retaliation.
Residents in Cedar Grove area said Thomas, a native of Antigua, returned to the island a little over a year ago, to be with her family and it is sad that her time with them was cut short.
 “Boy! It is really sad. I am told everybody was just in the corner chilling not anticipating anything of this sort,” one male resident who did not wish to be named said.
Another appealed to the police to act “swiftly” to address the situation of crime in the area.
“They need to do something because the criminals will not stop until they get who they are looking for. It is not right to take the law in your hands but that is what they {the criminals} are doing”.
The residents also said the father of the deceased and her immediate family are overcome with grief and are trying their best to deal with the recent tragedy.
The incident has also sparked a reaction from the National Coalition of Neighborhood Watches which called for the Police Commissioner Wendel Robinson to disclose specific measures that are being adopted to address crime and security.
The group also called on residents, in particular, and all other witnesses to violent crime, who may have information which could assist the police in their investigations to provide such information.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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