April 27, 2000

Police officer killed amid unrest in Kingston, Jamaica

                  KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- One policeman was killed and at least three
                  more were injured Thursday as gunfights exploded in the Jamaican
                  capital Kingston over the death of a reputed gang leader.

                  Police set up roadblocks along Mountain Avenue as automatic gunfire echoed
                  through the neighborhood. Police confirmed the officer's death, but would
                  not give details of his shooting.

                  Residents who escaped from the area of the fighting said many soldiers and
                  officers appeared to held at bay, waiting for the shooting to subside. One soldier
                  taking a break from the mayhem said authorities didn't know how many gunmen
                  were out there but that it was clear there were "too many."

                  "We don't know where they are and we can't find them," said the soldier, who
                  did not give his name.

                  Authorities sent reinforcements to the neighborhood on Tuesday after police
                  killed alleged gang leader Sylvester Wint, 30, outside his home. Police said Wint
                  held a baby as a shield and opened fire on investigators who wanted to question
                  him about the shooting of three police officers earlier in the day.

                  Residents say police fired first and that Wint dropped the baby before he was
                  shot. They are demanding that murder charges be filed against Police
                  Superintendent Ronato Adams.

                  Residents in poor neighborhoods frequently complain that Jamaican police are
                  too quick to open fire on suspects. Last year 151 people were killed by police in
                  Jamaica, a country with a population of 2.6 million.

                  As news of the dead officer reached residents gathered on Mountain Avenue,
                  23-year-old Nicola Silence jumped with joy.

                  "We're winning, we're winning," she said.

                  A wave of murders in Kingston this month prompted Jamaican Prime Minister
                  P.J. Patterson to announce Wednesday he was toughening a 10-month-old
                  program of curfews, roadblocks and house searches in the city.

                  More than 260 people have been killed in Jamaica this year. Last week, the
                  chairwoman of the regulatory Fair Trading Commission was killed in her law
                  office. Her death has prompted calls to resume executions after more than a