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Witness tells court shooting victim was affiliated with 42 gang

Teenage shooting victim Jahrockia Smith-Hassell has affiliations with the 42 gang, the Supreme Court has heard.

The Pembroke resident was 16 on March 25, when he was shot three times by a lone gunman outside his home on Rambling Lane, Pembroke. The court has heard from the victim that he recognised the shooter as 24-year-old Royunde Stevens Cyrus.

Mr Cyrus denies the charge of attempted murder, plus a charge of using a firearm for an indictable offence. Yesterday, one of the witnesses from that evening’s events, Dandre Michael Butler, took the stand and told the court he was present at the time of the shooting.

He told the court that he had seen the defendant, Mr Cyrus, pass down Rambling Lane a little after 11.15pm that night, in the company of another man called Jerry Robinson.

Mr Cyrus greeted him, Mr Butler said, before continuing down to Parsons Road.

Shortly after 11.44pm, the court heard, the witness noticed “someone approaching on foot, a dark figure” on Rambling Lane. He described the figure as dressed in a dark hooded top.

“Inside the hood it was darker. They had either pulled down a mask or one of those woolly hats that you can pull down,” Mr Butler continued.

The court heard that the figure walked past the group in Rambling Lane. As the person drew in front of Mr Smith-Hassell, the witness said, he heard a shot and saw his friend fall to the ground. Asked if he had seen anything else of the shooter, Mr Butler said he guessed the person’s height as about 5ft 6in.

Under questioning from Shade Subair, who represents Mr Cyrus, the witness said he had disagreed with Mr Smith-Hassell over the shooter’s identity when he visited him in hospital. The court heard that Mr Butler knew, through football, both Mr Smith-Hassell’s older brother, Tafari Smith, and the accused, Mr Cyrus.

The witness said he knew Mr Cyrus had lived previously on the bottom of Rambling Lane by Parsons Road. He also agreed with Ms Subair that the term “Parkside” originated with the area around the Parkside Restaurant. Returning to the topic of Mr Smith-Hassell’s alleged affiliation with 42, Mr Butler told the court: “He is a frequent visitor to the 42 area. He used to live up there.”

Mr Butler agreed that the victim’s brother, Tafari, lived on the “42 area” of St Monica’s Road and was visited there by his brother. The court heard also that Rambling Lane lies within “Parkside turf”, and that the term “Parkside” could apply to people who congregated near the restaurant of that name, as well as the Parkside gang.

A resident of the Middle Town neighbourhood adjacent to Rambling Lane, Mr Butler said “Parkside” could apply to “working class, law abiding people that are still affiliated by where their friends are” as well as “people that are gang members, that are living an illegal lifestyle”.

The court heard: “Right now, everyone that’s Parkside, or that’s affiliated with Parkside, they all have to watch their back, as far as being recognised as Parkside.”

Asked why, Mr Butler said: “Because currently there’s a feud/war going on between Parkside and 42nd.”

The case continues.

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Published November 24, 2011 at 8:51 am (Updated November 24, 2011 at 8:50 am)

Witness tells court shooting victim was affiliated with 42 gang

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