KINGSTON, Jamaica – A British schoolgirl visiting relatives in a tiny rural village in northern Jamaica was fatally shot when a lone gunman opened fire on a group of family members as they gathered at a roadside shop, officials said Sunday.
Imani Green, 8, of Balham in south London, was standing inside a clapboard grocery store and bar with relatives on Friday evening when a gunman wearing a hoodie shot the child in the head and shoulder before also shooting three adult members of her family.
Police said Sunday the shooting it is believed to be some sort of retaliatory attack, but investigations were ongoing in the normally quiet Red Dirt district of Duncans in Trelawny parish. The roadside business where the shooting occurred is apparently owned by a female relative of the slain girl. There have been no arrests.
The girl died from her injuries while undergoing treatment at a hospital in nearby Falmouth, a historic coastal town that is home to the tourism-dependent island's newest cruise ship port. The three adults were listed in stable condition.
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office says it is providing consular assistance to the family and working with authorities in Jamaica.
James Mortimer, a press officer with the British CFO, said Sunday that Imani's relatives were "very distressed" and "appealing for privacy." Imani, her mother and sister had planned on visiting relatives in Jamaica until the end of the month.
Janella Parmer, the slain child's sister, told the BBC that she found her young sibling in a pool of blood after hearing gunshots outside.
"I picked her up off the ground and realized she was still breathing. I flagged down a car and they drove us to hospital. The rest is history," the BBC quoted Parmer as saying.
Jamaican Justice Minister Peter Bunting said the "senseless killing of a young, innocent child must outrage all well-thinking Jamaicans."
The Caribbean island's government said the Falmouth police have launched an "extensive investigation into the matter and will expend every effort to ensure that the perpetrator is apprehended and brought to justice."
There has been a heavy police presence in Duncans since the shooting.
Sadiq Khan, a British lawmaker who represents the schoolgirl's south London hometown in the British Parliament, tweeted Sunday that he was "devastated" to learn of the killing.
There were 1,087 slayings last year on the island of some 2.8 million people. It was the lowest number of killings in nine years in Jamaica, but authorities acknowledge the island's rate of violent crime is still unacceptably high.
Most of Jamaica's violence takes place in rough slums, with tourist resorts largely crime-free.