RESIDENTS of sections of West Kingston are tense, following Saturday night's murder of a man, the first in that volatile area since the start of the year.
Residents said that Kemar Bloomfield, 22, was shot multiple times in the face and other parts of his body shortly before 9:00 pm.
The incident occurred at the intersection of Spanish Town Road and Charles Street, metres from the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) where Bloomfield was pronounced dead upon arrival, police said.
As investigators cordoned and searched the crime scene in the vicinity of the old Queen's Cinema, pockets of concerned residents gathered under dim street lights as far back as the Denham Town Police Station and watched the proceedings.
They whispered about the incident as motorists detoured on surrounding roads to avoid the police roadblock. Some residents feared reprisals.
Yesterday, Senior Superintendent Terrence Bent of the Kingston West Police Division said that investigators had no records of Bloomfield, who was of a nearby Wellington Street address, being involved in criminality, a common speculation among onlookers at the scene.
Maybe if we check some past records we might find something but he was not on our records recently," said Bent.
Bloomfield's killing was the first this year in the division. It followed last Friday's murder of Dane Cammock on Barry Street, which is said to be under the jurisdiction of the Kingston Central Police.
Bent reassured residents that similar crime-fighting measures which resulted in a lull in criminality following the West Kingston unrest in 2010 will be employed to maintain peace in the traditionally unstable area.
"We intend to take each murder as a serious enough offence to put enough resources on it to prevent any further reprisals," said Bent, who added that the police will be targeting some known key players certain in West Kingston gangs.
In addition to the usual curfews, cordons and searches, Bent said that he was hopeful that witnesses of murders will provide more information and be more co-operative with police investigations this year.
In the meantime, investigators from the Major Investigation Taskforce (MIT) theorised that Saturday's double murder of wheelchair-bound Desrick Hutchinson and his male assistant at 33 Lane, off Waltham Park Road, may have been a reprisal for the killing of a man in Cypress Hall, St Andrew, on January 4.