The daughter of a pastor was shot in the head in Mount Salem, St James, allegedly by men involved in a gun salute as part of New Year's celebrations. The incident happened in the Emmanuel Chapel churchyard.
"I had just finished delivering the watch night sermon, and my daughter, along with other children, went outside to watch the fireworks from the New Year's celebration when someone ran back inside the church and told my wife and I that Abigail had fallen," Pastor Mark Mullings, an ex-cop, said.
"I immediately ran outside and saw her lying on the ground, and noticed that she was bleeding heavily from her forehead."
Abigail successfully underwent surgery at Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny yesterday to remove a bullet from her forehead.
The pastor said the family did not immediately realize that she was shot until they rushed her to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where she was examined. They were informed, he said, that a warhead from a bullet had lodged in her forehead.
"It is a very heart-rending situation, especially knowing that a church is supposed to be the safest place to be, especially on a watchnight, but in this case, it was not so. "
Mullings said that he and his wife, Juilett, were now thanking God for answering their prayers.
"My daughter has since undergone surgery and is at the intensive care unit recovering, so we will now have to see where we go from here," he told reporters outside the ICU.
"I am now making an appeal to persons who constantly use the gun to perform illegal gun salutes, during holiday periods, especially new year, to cease from doing so."
Juilett Mullings also revealed that Abigail had had a premonition of the tragedy.
"Before we left home for watchnight service, she came to me, basically in tears, and said, 'Mommy, you know I feel like something bad is going to happen to me in 2020."
The mother said she was shocked at her daughter's suggestion, but just smiled at her and tried to comfort her.
"I encouraged her and said, God kept us through 2019 and he is more than able to keep us through 2020. But little did I know that she was feeling her fate."