Gun violence erupted in several St James communities on Thursday night as armed thugs once again wreaked havoc, killing one man and injuring six other persons, as 2016 remains on course to becoming the bloodiest year in the history of the parish.
"Despite all the efforts we are making to bring order to the parish, we are still having these shootings and murders.
The mayhem started shortly after 6:30 p.m. when a group of heavily armed men invaded a bar in the volatile Paradise/Norwood community and opened fire on patrons. The female bartender, 26 year-old Marcia Dixon, was killed on spot, while three other persons were shot and injured.
"A the 'nuffest' shot I ever hear beat inna Norwood for the longest while now, and trust me, shots fire regular these days," a resident quoted.
"In all the grieving and mourning, we still have to give thanks because if dem boy deh (the gunmen) coulda shoot good, a nuff more body bags dem woulda have out deh last night."
The three injured persons were taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, while the body of the deceased woman was taken away to a funeral home after the scene was processed by crime scene personnel from the St James police division.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., gunshots echoed along Katon Lane in Mt Salem after a group of gunmen attacked a man who was on his way home from work. The victim, a former schoolboy footballer, fled as the gunmen gave chase, firing a barrage of shots at him. One of the bullets flew through his left thigh.
"If the man couldn't run, him would be a dead man ... because they (the gunmen) were chasing him and firing shots," a resident told The Gleaner. "We are meeting hell in here with gunmen."
In the last of the incidents, which occurred at approximately 8 p.m., gunmen raided two bars in the Anchovy community. In both incidents, the female bartenders were shot and injured.
St James, especially the parish capital, Montego Bay, has been under siege since the start of the year with some 211 murders - one short of last year's all-time record of 212 - with little more than two full months to go in the year.