By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A POLICE officer was justified in shooting and killing a 22-year-old man who charged at him with a knife almost ten years ago, a jury found yesterday.
The five-member jury found that Lanes Sylvius’ death at the hands of Constable Jovan Jervis in August 2010 was a lawful killing. One juror dissented.
During the inquest into the matter before Her Majesty’s Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez, Corporal Angela Johnson testified that on August 23, 2010, she and P/C Jervis were on duty when two bus drivers complained of being victims of an armed robbery on Bay Geranium Avenue.
Cpl Johnson said she and P/C Jervis consequently went to the scene of the alleged crime, where they encountered Sylvius donned in black shorts and a white shirt. Cpl Johnson said upon their arrival, P/C Jervis got out of the police vehicle and shouted warnings to the young man. However, she said Sylvius ran off, prompting P/C Jervis to give chase.
Cpl Johnson said she subsequently turned the squad car around and went after Sylvius and her partner. Sylvius, she said, had since run on the side of an abandoned house. She said P/C Jervis was hot on his heels.
Cpl Johnson said she brought the vehicle to a stop and parked it. While doing so, she said she heard P/C Jervis instruct Sylvius to stop. Cpl Johnson said she saw a “silver object” in the young man’s hand which she later identified as a knife.
Instead of complying with P/C Jervis’ orders, Cpl Johnson said Sylvius turned around in a bid to attack her partner. She said being in fear for his life, P/C Jervis pulled out his revolver and fired several shots.
Sylvius ultimately died as a result of gunshot wounds to his torso.
A woman who identified herself as Sylvius’ sister declined to comment on yesterday’s verdict.
In 2013 however, the Guardian reported how Sylvius’ family wanted closure over the shooting.
At the time, Sylvius’ sister Kettley Knowles said she was puzzled over her brother’s death, because he was “not the type to attack a police.”
“If anything, he would run,” she added.
Ms Knowles said her brother lived with friends in Bain Town and was supposed to visit another sister, who lived in Pinewood with their father to collect something.
Sylvius, who Ms Knowles said had served time in prison for drug possession prior to his death, never arrived, as he was shot dead three corners away from his relatives’ home.
At the time, Ms Knowles said then-Superintendent Leon Bethel promised to provide the answers her family do desperately desired once he received the autopsy results.
However, Ms Knowles said those answers never came.
Lennox Coleby represented P/C Jervis. Wendawn Miller represented the family of the deceased.