Tonight another community is outraged after another young man was fatally shot by the police. It occurred in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon on Central American Boulevard. The victim is 18 year old Elmore Neal and it was an off duty police officer who pulled the trigger. Police say it was a justified shooting because the deceased had a gun in his hand and was pointing it at someone. But his family and friends say it was murder. Tonight we have both sides of the story. Keith Swift reports.
Tiffany Arana, Friend of Deceased
“They are trained to shot man in their foot, why they shot up the young man like that.”
Emotions were high Saturday afternoon at the corner of Matura Street and Central American Boulevard. Police had just shot and killed 18 year old Elmore Lemott Neal. The blood was still fresh and so was the anger.
“They dah the law and they are supposed to protect me.”
Police say Elmore Neal was shot because he was armed. They saw an over duty officer saw Neal waving a pistol on Saturday afternoon. The off duty officer instructed Neal to drop the weapon. Police say Neal didn’t and that is when the officer pulled out his licensed gun and shot Elmore Neal once and then twice.
Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer
“Lemott was somewhere on Central American Boulevard between its junction with Kraal Road and Neal’s Penn Road when he was apparently chasing another male person with a firearm, namely a .22 chrome revolver. But this person ran into a yard and at the same time a police who was passing by in his private vehicle saw the situation while it was unfolding. He drove up and identified to Elmore Neal as a police officer and instructed Neal to drop the firearm. Instead of throwing the firearm to the ground, he pointed it at the police officer and he was subsequently shot.”
We spoke to two eyewitnesses –one off camera – who dispute the police’s version.
Voice of Eyewitness,
“Elmore was right there by the bump. He got the first shot there and he got it here and he fell down on his face. If he had a gun, the gun wouldn’t have been up there, he would have had it on him. And if he had that gun, he would have used it.”
Sharon Bennett, Cousin of Deceased
“After the third shot I then saw my cousin coming down the street. When he was coming down the street, then the third gunshot ring off, he was still walking strong and I saw him turned like this and he did so and when he did so, he wasn’t bleeding like he got shot because he had on a brown shirt and I didn’t see nothing like blood running down his hand. I saw him still continue walk and then he collapsed between Matura Street.”
The first person to his aid was his mother Sarita Lemott.
Sarita Lemott, Mother of Deceased
“I found him laying down right here on the ground. The police were by the sign for bus stop and nobody came and tried to pick him up. They left him right down there. Another police vehicle came and picked him up and by the time I took him to the hospital and they put him on the bed he was gone.”
Elmore’s family and friends say they didn’t see Elmore with a gun but they concede he might have had a gun. And if he did – they say the police officer didn’t have to use deadly force.
Samuel Bradley, Brother of Deceased
“Even if this man had a firearm or weapon as what they claim, and if this man dashed away the thing he automatically disarmed himself so why is it they kill the man like that. They could have shot the man in his foot or something.”
“Elmore didn’t have no gun because he didn’t dead with one in his pocket and he didn’t dead with one on him. So I say he didn’t have no gun but what I said is that even if he had a gun, the Police Department they are trained to shot man in their foot and hand, they weren’t trained to kill man. If Elmore had a gun and point it at them, they could have shot him in his hand and then Elmore would have understood that he done get shot and he can relax himself. He didn’t even do a warning shot, he just shot up the young boy like that.”
“They could have gone to him and take away the gun from him or wrong. They waited until he came all the area where he lived and he was bending the curve he shot him right there. So he could have saved him. My son asked the police to save him and he still shot him again. So it is two times he shot him so he meant to kill him.”
And though the bloodspot at the corner of Matura Street and Central American Boulevard is dry – it is still visible and so too is the hurt of this family and community.
“I want justice and I want them to do something to this. I don’t want my baby’s life to go just like that and nobody does nothing to it.”
Agnes Mariano, Relative
“We just want a good burial, we don’t want any revenge, they will get revenge up there. We want justice, that is all we want.”
“I just hope Perdomo try to do something about this matter because they chance the man out of his life. Even if the man did have a gun, they could have given him a fighting chance.”
The official police report says that Elmore Neal was shot once but his family says he was shot twice. The police officer who shot Elmore Neal is under investigation. Police again say they recovered a loaded 22 calibre revolver from the crime scene but it wasn’t on Elmore Neal, it was near to him.
This is the second police related shooting in less than a month. In February Jamaican O’Neil Jones was fatally shot by a police officer in Lord’s Bank. Police say he had a shiny object on him which turned out to be part of a bicycle. And while those are the established police killing, the families of Teddy Murillo and Christopher Galvez steadfastly cling to the certainty that police also killed their loved ones.