Funeral Disaster: Hearse Driver, 17-YO Boy Killed; 2-Y-O, 23-Y-O Injured

When the smoke cleared, the driver of the House of Tranquillity Funeral Home hearse and a 17-year-old boy were dead.

The hearse should have transported the body of 49-year-old Desmine McCluskey to St Mary for the thanksgiving service for her life, but instead it became a piece of evidence in a double murder.

The driver, Michael Bent, of a Kingston address, and Dontae Jackson, of a Kingston 20 address, were shot dead while a two-year-old child and a 23-year-old woman were injured in the invasion.

Yesterday's shooting incident is the second to have left a child injured in less than a week.

The constabulary's Corporate Communications Unit reported that approximately 10:20 am, Bent was in the 77 Lane community when four men travelling on motorcycles drove up and opened gunfire at the group of mourners.

When the mayhem was over, residents found that four people had been shot. They were taken to hospital where Bent and Jackson were pronounced dead and the others treated.

Michael Bent | Dontae Jackson

The hearse and a Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus that would have transported mourners to the funeral were seen in the area.

Managing director of House of Tranquillity Funeral Home on Orange Street in Kingston, Joseph Cornwall, told the Observer that it is customary for some out-of-town funerals to have a short viewing of the body at the deceased individual's home, unless told otherwise by the police.

“The family requested that the body be taken to the home for a short viewing and then move on to the place where the service would be held, which would be the church, and then from there to the place of interment, which is the Annotto Bay Public Cemetery,” Cornwall explained.

Cornwall said Bent was a cabinetmaker who was employed to the funeral home as a driver.

Bent's co-worker, Delon Smith, was seen crying uncontrollably at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) yesterday.

In the meantime, another hearse was dispatched to the scene of the shooting and McCluskey's body was transported to St Mary for the funeral service.



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