McKenzie applauds officers for arrests in the fiery death of homeless gentleman

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Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie and Mayor of Kingston Senator Delroy Williams are commending the police for their investigations that led to the arrest and charge of five people in connection with the murder of a homeless man, Lionel Johnson.

Both also urged the police to continue their search for the truth in the incident, in which Johnson was doused with a flammable substance and set alight on the night of August 28 on Heroes Circle in Kingston.

He died from the injuries he sustained early the following morning, which prompted a $500,000 reward for information from McKenzie’s ministry.

“I want to appeal to the public that we are going to be relentless against persons who continue to abuse the homeless population, persons who can’t help themselves,” McKenzie said Thursday in an interview while at the handover of indigent housing solutions on Barry Street in downtown Kingston.

On Thursday, the police announced that five teenagers, whose ages range from15 to 17 years, were arrested and charged with the murder of Johnson.

The teens are from the general Fletcher’s Land area, which is one of the housing developments that are on the fringes of Heroes Circle.

“It’s a crying shame because of the age of those persons who are arrested. 

It sends shockwaves and it’s a frightening situation, but it’s something that we must stand up for and we must repel. 

I want to commend the police for the job that they have done in the investigation that has brought us to this point,” McKenzie said.

Meanwhile, according to Williams, the murder goes against the commitment of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation to foster and care for the homeless community.

“The municipality is committed to taking care of the homeless population. 

We have done so through various programs we operate through the municipality, and we have been working so hard to get the message out there that people must take care of homeless individuals instead of abusing them

“This is a caring city. We want to image Kingston as a caring city. It’s important to us for Kingston to be a caring city, and how we treat and take care of homeless persons are important to us in the city of Kingston,” Williams said.

In the meantime, McKenzie would not comment on whether the reward that was offered by his ministry was instrumental in the arrest of the teenagers.

“I am not going to comment on that aspect right now. 

There are certain things I am not prepared to say on the matter, but one thing I want to say is that the police must be commended on the job, and for those persons who found it fit to lend support, I want to thank them for that effort,” McKenzie said.


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