Security guard, 35-year-old Anthony Phillips, an ex-soldier, was on duty safeguarding Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in Granville, St James, but there was no one to protect him when he was pounced upon and murdered in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Another security guard who was also on duty with him managed to escape unhurt.
There’s disbelief over Phillips’ untimely death. A third-year student who preferred not to be identified, admitted that on hearing the news, “It really shook me up,” so much so that she left her home to go and check for herself if what she heard was the truth and not someone joking.
The student lamented that, “it’s a community where when things happen, everybody goes on as if nothing happened. Some people don’t know even if it happen in the middle of the road!”
Phillips’ co-worker and friend for many years, Courtney Whyte, is left puzzled. “I don’t know of anybody and him who is involved in anything.” He said Phillips “is not a man of many words” and was “quick to walk away from anything.”
“We’re coming from way back; we were both in the army together and he’s a very good person; calm spirit, nutt’n trouble him, so surprising!” said Whyte.
Phillips, an employee of King Alarm security firm, was doing the graveyard duty at the main gate to Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College when he was killed.
While there’s no clear indication of motive, Chairman of the college’s board of governors, Norman Reid, is confident that the heinous crime was not an attack on the school.
The student population has been off campus for the past three weeks with the end of the second semester.
“It is very unfortunate because generally, there is a lot of peace and calm in the area,” said Mr. Reid, who extended condolence to the security guard’s family.
He said a committee of the board would be meeting with King Alarm to reassess the security arrangement for the college. Also, he would be speaking with the Region Four office of the Ministry of Education on the matter of counselling for staff members still at work at the college.
The official police report states that about 3:15 a.m., Phillips and his co-worker were on duty at the main gate to the college when his colleague heard strange sounds coming from the Guard House. He looked and saw a lone gunman pointing a gun inside the Guard House through the door and saying, “Don’t move bwoy”.
The co-worker, who had a knife, reportedly tried to assist Phillips and a struggle ensued between the three. The gunman, however, managed to overpower the two security guards. Phillips’ co-worker ran and shortly after, explosions were heard.
The police were alerted and on arrival, Phillips was seen at the entrance to the guard house, lying face down in a pool of blood with gunshot wounds to the face.