Monday, January 17, 2011

Jamaican LDS Missionary Jermaine Luther Walker Fatally Shot In Police Crossfire In Kingston, Jamaica

A missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was shot and killed in Kingston, Jamaica, on Monday January 17th, 2010. Elder Jermaine Luther Walker, a native of Kingston, was part of a group of seven missionaries in a van when they got caught in the crossfire of a police shootout while police were pursuing another vehicle. The other six missionaries were unhurt. Most media sources are spelling his first name as "Jermaine"; that's the reference I'm using. Elder Walker's name will be added to my partial list of missionaries who have died while on their missions.

Media stories published by KSL Channel 5, the Deseret News, and the Salt Lake Tribune. Jamaican media outlets have not yet picked up the story.

Photo of Elder Walker available HERE.

Video Courtesy of

The LDS Church released the following statement:

Our hearts are heavy with the news that Elder Jermaine Luther Walker from Kingston, Jamaica -- serving in the Jamaica Kingston Mission -- was killed today. He was shot by a stray bullet while he and seven other missionaries were returning to their apartments after a preparation-day activity. It appears the van they were in was caught in the crossfire as local police were pursuing another vehicle. Elder Walker was immediately driven to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Although shaken, the other missionaries in the van were reported in good condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with Elder Walker’s family and all who knew this fine young man.

Official LDS statistics reveal that there are 5,096 LDS members in Jamaica, organized into 21 different congregations. The LDS Church Growth blog provides more information about past activity and organization in Jamaica.

Jamaica has a reputation for being crime-prone. In 2007, it was identified as having one of the highest murder rates in the world. Much of the crime is attributed to organized gangs. In 2009, the State Department issued an advisory to prospective travelers about the high crime rate in Jamaica. Since that time, the Jamaican government has increasingly targeted gangs; recently, Commissioner Owen Ellington said police will further intensify its assault on organized crime through an expanded Counter Gang Strategy, and has set a March 31st deadline for each of the constabulary's territorial divisions to significantly disrupt or completely demolish the three most active gangs in their areas. The strategy seems to be working; official sources report a drop in murders from 1,682 in 2009 to 1,428 in 2010.

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