In the wake of the shooting death of reputed gang leader Christopher ‘Dog Paw’ Linton, Jamaican users of Twitter are today (October 13) thrust back into a red-hot conversation over what led the controversial figure down a life of crime.
The discussion took on new dimensions on Wednesday, after founder of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Diana McCaulay contended that the wider society failed Linton during his formative years.
McCaulay, in an interview with Nationwide News, said she knew Linton as a promising child in the 1990s when he was still a student at St Hugh’s Prep in St Andrew.
“He was a lovely young man with plenty potential, so I think the outcome is very sad. You know, I can’t speak to the crimes he committed—I have no knowledge of those—but as a youngster, he was lovely. I think we failed him; a long list of us and I include myself in that, failed him,” she said.
The JET founder and staunch environmental advocate said even though Linton struggled with literacy issues, he applied himself and secured a spot to attend Jamaica College.
Misfortune later befell an adolescent Linton as he was expelled from the Old Hope Road-based institution after a year and was also ‘kicked’ from the school he had moved on to, Kingsway High.
According to McCaulay, things got even worse when Linton’s elder brother, who she didn’t name, was arrested and died while in prison. Pointing out that Linton had looked up to his brother, she said his death may have led the youngster down a path of criminality.
“His elder brother, who was about 18, was arrested by the police and that is where I think the triggering event [was] for determining Christopher’s life. He was very close to his older brother and then his brother was killed in prison in 2005 and that was what I think made him take a different path,” McCaulay explained.
The comments were immediately contested on Twitter where many questioned why the media and those in ‘uptown’ spaces were seemingly insistent on “humanising” ‘Dog Paw’.
Some argued that, by doing so, the report disregarded his horrendous crimes and the fact that the ruthless Dog Paw Gang terrorised sections of the Corporate Area for years.
Others were not as harsh and agreed with McCaulay, adding that societal ills contribute greatly to the outcome of many inner-city youths, including Linton, who turn to gangs after being ‘chewed up’ and ‘spat out’ by a dysfunctional and classist system.
Linton, leader of the infamous Dog Paw Gang, was killed in an alleged confrontation with the Elleston Flats Police on Monday.
According to the preliminary report from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), just before 2:00 pm, police acting on information intercepted a vehicle in which armed men were believed to be travelling.
When asked to stop, Linton alighted from the vehicle and opened fire at the police. The gunfire was returned and Linton was shot.
He was taken to a nearby medical facility where he succumbed to his injuries. A .45 pistol was seized after the daylight gun battle while subsequent reports were made to the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau (IPROB).
For many years, Linton and his cronies were responsible for unleashing waves of gun violence, killings and turf wars in the St Andrew communities of August Town, Papine, Kintyre, Land Lease and Mud Town.
Linton and his co-accused Micah Allen were found guilty of gun charges in 2013.
Both men, who denied their involvement in an incident where two policemen were shot at while travelling in a service vehicle along Tavern Drive in April 2010, were each sentenced to 15 years in prison for illegal possession of firearm and 15 years for shooting with intent.
In April this year, however, they were freed when the Court of Appeal determined that evidence in the case against them was unreliable.