Imani Green, 8, from Balham, south London was gunned down on Friday night, whilst visiting relatives in Jamaica.
The young girl and her mother Donna was given permission from Imani’s school to travel to Jamaica just after Christmas, because she suffered from sickle cell anaemia.
Imani’s mother had left her daughter playing with her cousins at a relative’s cafe called Pinky’s Bar in the north coast town of Duncans, Trelawny Parish on Friday.
Then at around 8.30pm witnesses claim to have seen an unfamiliar car pull up to the shop. A masked man then walked in and opened fire injuring three others along with Imani, who was shot once in the head and shoulder.
Imani’s sister, Jamila Palmer told the BBC,
We heard gunshots. We ran outside and shouted ‘Imani! Imani! Imani!
I picked her up off the ground and realised she was still breathing. I flagged down a car and they drove us to hospital. The rest is history.
Imani later died in hospital in the nearby town, Falmouth, from her injuries.
Jamaican police revealed yesterday that they believe the attack to be connected to an earlier shooting and that Imani was not an intended target.
It is thought that the gunmen were seeking retribution over disagreements related to a $50 million lottery scam which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people each year in Jamaica. Security Minister Peter Bunting told the Jamaican Gleaner:
Imani could be one of hundreds killed due to a dispute over the “perennial lottery scam”
Political journal The Week reported
Lottery scams are thought to be responsible for as many as 500 murders over the past five years and for half the gun crime in the area, according to the Daily Mail. The scam involves phoning people in America and making them believe they have won a lottery. They are then tricked into giving advanced payments before receiving their winnings.
The Jamaican Observer says more than 30,000 calls are made from the country about such hoaxes every day. The Mail says as much as £30m was received in Jamaica last year alone.
Imani’s brother, Duncan Palmer, described his little sister as ‘an extremely brave girl’ despite her illness.
Imani’s head teacher, Anne Wilson from Fircroft primary school in Tooting, said that Imani was a ‘happy, playful child’ who was popular with staff and children alike.