FACE-OFF: Heavily-armed police officers move into the Mt D'or, Champs Fleurs, area yesterday as residents block the roads with burning debris and boulders to protest the police killing of 26-year-old Atiba Duncan. —Photos: Curtis Chase and Roberto Codallo

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Nightmare for commuters on East/West Corridor as residents protest police killing of 26-year-old man

By Gyasi Gonzales and Rickie Ramdass

Groups of angry, barebacked men from Mt D'or, Champs Fleurs, yesterday squared off against heavily armed police, following the killing of 27-year-old Atiba "Happy Feet" Duncan by police.

The morning started off with a fiery protest, which stopped and started again in the afternoon as the men demanded justice for what they said was the unlawful killing of Duncan.

Duncan was described as an avid footballer and, according to residents, the only crime he committed was smoking marijuana.

The police, on the other hand, described Duncan as a wanted criminal, who they attempted to arrest on Wednesday night.

According to St Joseph Police, around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, three officers from that station were on patrol in a marked SUV along Mt D'or Road when they spotted Duncan, who they said had an outstanding warrant for trafficking narcotics.

They said they stopped and were about to arrest him when he ran off, pulled out a pistol, pointed it at officers and was about to squeeze the trigger.

Police said one of the officers fired at Duncan, hitting him about the body, following which they took him to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope where he died while being treated.

Mt D'or residents had another story, however.

"One is one, dread, because if the man (Duncan) was a killer, I woulda accept that shooting," said a perspiring, barebacked man who sat on a pavement looking on at the riot.

Another man who did not want to be named said he was standing next to Duncan when the police attacked him.

"Me and Atiba was liming near Rivas Supermarket (located up Mt D'or Road), and we had lil weed and thing, and someone say the police coming," he said.

He said Duncan dropped his marijuana cigarette on the road.

"One of the police officers, a woman, come out the jeep and pick up the weed, and the man police officer with she tried to grab the man (Duncan) and they end up fighting," the man said.

During the struggle, Duncan managed to wrench himself free, leaving a police officer with his ripped-off T-shirt. He said the woman police officer then walked over to a ledge overlooking a narrow valley where Duncan had gone and opened fire, using a sub-machine gun.

"That wasn't no '9 mm' they was using, nah, that was a machine gun," said another man.

Both men said after the officers fired at Duncan, they left the area.

In the meantime, Duncan's friend said he and some other men followed Duncan's trail of blood, picked him up and took him to the Mt Hope Hospital.

"No police eh take that man to hospital. Is ah man named Strongie who take him," said another resident.

The residents said the officers returned with a plastic bag containing a gun, which they said was Duncan's.

Duncan's girlfriend also spoke to reporters and said, "He wasn't in anything. He worked construction, and he wanted a better life, and right now, I just feelin' to cry. I just can't face it."

She added the last time she heard from him was at 7.30 p.m., following which she got a call around 10 p.m. from a friend of Duncan's who said he had been shot. She said by the time she got to the hospital, Duncan had already died.

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