‘It is heart-wrenching’ - Blogger killed after reporting on Clarendon double murder

September 26, 2022
Leon ‘Leegates’ McNeil
Leon ‘Leegates’ McNeil

Less than five hours after he beseeched his countrymen to exercise caution as they go about their business, due to rampant criminality, Clarendon-based blogger Leon 'Leegates' McNeil lost his life at the hands of murderers.

McNeil was at a party, about 8:55 p.m., when he was approached by men who shot him multiple times. The 36-year-old declared his intention to attend the party via live stream video earlier that day as he reported on a double murder in the parish.

"People, mi a ask unuh, -- including miself -- please, unuh just be careful out there because a whole heap a tings a gwaan an' a whole heap a people involve in a some likkle tings weh ... Yuh a fi just careful when yuh deh 'roun certain people," he said.

His comments came about half hour after two men were murdered in the Portland Cottage area of the parish. McNeil, founder of Leegates TV and Entertainment, used his social media platform to provide live updates on the incident.

The victims of the Portland Cottage attack have been identified as 39-year-old Derrick Matthews, otherwise called Red Fox, a taxi operator, and 47-year-old Michael Newland of Lionel Town.

The Lionel Town police say about 4:10 p.m., Matthews was transporting Newland and other residents, when upon reaching a section of the Portland Cottage main road, he pulled over to let out a passenger. It is alleged that the same passenger then brandished a firearm and opened gunfire at the vehicle before fleeing the scene. The police were summoned, and on their arrival, both men were seen with multiple gunshot wounds. They were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

McNeil was quickly on the scene.

"Why suh much murders? Why suh much shootings? Why so much crime? Mi a fi ask the question. It is heart-wrenching, it is heart-breaking," he said, reflecting on the killings on the island.

"Why so much shootings a gwaan? Mi nuh know why so much shooting, why so much tings a gwaan in a dem time yah? Wi need God. Mi a wonder if nobody nuh fear God again," McNeil pondered.

Up to September 17, a total of 63 people had been killed in Clarendon. The figure shows a 17 per cent reduction in homicides when compared to 76 murders for the corresponding period of 2021. Nationally, Jamaica has recorded 1,108 murders up to September 17, which is 82 more than the corresponding period last year.

In a twist of fate, he too became a murder victim. Another man who was shot at the event was said to be in critical condition at press time last night.

Councillor for the Hayes Division, Scean Barnswell said Saturday's incident left residents traumatised, and made an appeal to anyone with information that could assist the investigation to share same with the police.

"It is unfortunate that the law-abiding citizens can't go out and have a social, to mingle, to have a get-together, because of the spate of shootings taking place within our community space. It's really sad, and this crime monster is a leech itself on the people. You can't go to a game of football anymore, you can't go to a party, you can't sit and hang on your corners, or at your gate, you can't walk on the street in peace because the element of crime is everywhere," Barnswell said.

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