Police officer gunned down in Jamaica

An off-duty policeman was shot and killed outside Jamaica's capital early Sunday, the latest victim of relentless violence gripping the Caribbean island, authorities said.

Constable Deancourt Wright, 39, was the 12th officer to be slain on the island this year. Eleven were killed last year.

Police responding to reports of gunshots discovered Wright's body laying in the street before dawn in Windsor Heights, just west of the capital of Kingston, police spokeswoman Dahlia Garrick said. His body was a few feet from his Nissan sedan, which had been completely burned.

Police have no suspects in the killing, which came as National Security Minister Peter Phillips prepared to address the nation later Sunday about new measures aimed at curbing a spike in killings that have given the small island one of the world's highest homicide rates.

More than 1,400 people have been slain in the former British colony of 2.6 million this year, a figure on pace to surpass last year's record of 1,471 killings, authorities say.

Police blame the spate of killings on street gangs vying for control of lucrative drug and extortion rings. Most of the violence occurs in or around Kingston, far from the gated tourist resorts that dot the island's northern and western coasts, AP reports.

A. A.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team