On Sunday, a woman was shot and killed inside of a church by a gunman posing as a church member.

The Jamaica-based church was live-streaming the service when the gunman opened fire on the woman and killed her. The woman, Andrea Lowe-Garwood was a bank manager in Trelawney Parish.

According to a video from the Jamaica Star, the gunman shot the woman 5 or 6 times. The congregation was shouting, and the worship team was in shock and worry.

The Jamaica Information Service reports that the man walked up to the woman and shot her multiple times in the chest before fleeing the scene and escaping in a white car. The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange, said in a statement, “The horrific circumstances of the killing of the woman in her church should serve as a wake up call for all Jamaicans. The entire country must now get involved in efforts to end crime and violence as it requires all of us to end the violence; and it will take all of us to defend Jamaica against the criminals.”

The victim, Andrea Lowe-Garwood, was a member of the People’s National Party, and her mother was the Vice President of the party. Her murder is the latest in a series of murders, rapes, robberies, shootings, and break-ins that took place in Jamaica in recent weeks. Lowe-Garwood had lost her mother and her husband within the last two years. Her husband died in a car accident.

According to InSight Crime’s 2020 Homicide Round-Up, Jamaica is the country with the highest murder rate in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, even beating out Venezuela, which is in the midst of a violent regime fighting with revolutionaries. The reason for the violence is due to rampant gang violence across the country.

According to the Oversees Security Advisory Council, “Gangs are a major security issue across the country, and are the source of most violent crime nationwide.” They also state “Under the SOE (State of Emergency), security forces deployed to address organized crime, including gang violence related to drug and gun trafficking and lottery scams.”

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