Exclusive | Ewarton mother defends son killed by police hours after release from custody without charge

Cornel McKenzie

A mother from the outskirts of Ewarton in St. Catherine is questioning why police shot and killed her son a few hours after he was released from custody without charge, adding that there is no truth to claims by cops and civilians that her only child was involved in criminal activities.

Her 25-year-old son, Cornel McKenzie, otherwise called ‘CJ’, was among two men shot dead during what police said was a shoot-out about 8:30PM on Saturday, November 28. The other deceased is 25-year-old Dennis Francis, otherwise called ‘Steve’, from the Spanish Town area of St. Catherine.

The police, who said they seized a .38 revolver firearm in the shooting incident at Spanish Town, claimed that the slain men were members of the dreaded Klansman gang in Spanish Town.

McKenzie’s mother, Maureen Wilson, yesterday noted that her son was killed hours after the Spanish Town Police released him from custody.

“They picked him up Saturday morning and he was at Spanish Town Police Station all day Saturday, and they let him out Saturday evening. He wasn’t charged or anything. This is so strange. If they had a charge for him, they would have put it on him from Saturday,” she told The Beacon.

The police have explained that, acting on intelligence, they, about 8:30PM, ‘moved to intercept McKenzie and other top-tier members of the gang’ when several men travelling in a Nissan motorcar fired shots at the police. The cops said they took evasive actions and returned the gunfire.

Mckenzie’s mother, in the meantime, said her son, who was living with his girlfriend at Hampton Green in Spanish Town, left home to attend a party.

“He was off to a little party to show his face – he said just for 15 minutes. He wasn’t even trimmed or shaved up or anything. It’s not like he was on any hanky panky move,” she said, adding that she did not expect her son to die tragically.

“I wasn’t expecting that. The last few months he was a calm person; every day wi talk. He wasn’t even on the road in the day – and you know curfew starts at 9PM. No, I wasn’t expecting this incident.”

The tragic death, however, is no surprise to some people who spoke with The Beacon in and around Mckenzie’s hometown of Ewarton. Persons accused him of stealing goats and car, adding that they suspect he was involved in some murders committed in the area.

BAD NAME HURTING MOTHER

McKenzie’s mother is not unaware of the accusations. She denied them.

“To those who are talking the things they don’t know [about my son], I wish they would stop because it is very hurting,” she said.

Asked if her son was ever charged for any crime, the mother paused, then replied: “He was charged, but for nothing major.”

She emphasized that he was not a convict. “He has never been convicted of anything; he doesn’t have a case going around to say he is going to the police station to report or anything. He was a free man.”

WHY HE LEFT EWARTON

The mother further indicated that her son relocated to live in Spanish Town because people were bad-mouthing him in his native Ewarton community.

“He is a loving person; he is not a brutal person as how you hear the news put it. I don’t know of him being a Klansman; I don’t know of that. He was here [in Ewarton] and he was not comfortable here, and that is why he was living in Hampton Green [in Spanish Town],” she told The Beacon.

She recalled that her son visited her in Ewarton the night before he was shot dead.

He intended to stay there for the night, but the mother was not comfortable with the idea.

“Because of how people have him in the area, I said ‘no’. I am really sorry that I didn’t accept his presence at that time, but, with all of this, God knows what is best… He came here Friday night, lay in my bed, and played with his [three-year-old] son and his adopted sister,” she disclosed.

I AM A CHRISTIAN

Asked if there is any truth that she tolerated her son’s alleged wrongdoings, the mother said she is an upstanding resident and church member.

She added: “How could I tolerate? I have one child and the only motive for my life is to see my child grown and being a good person in society. How could I condone with my child? No. I am a Christian person; I attend Ewarton New Testament Church. Let me tell you something, I don’t know if I was selfish with my prayers, but it was for my son… I am a reputable person; I don’t condone any stupidness.”

The mother, in driving home her point, noted a group of people at her residence while she was being interviewed by The Beacon. They were her friends visiting from her church.


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