Young mother killed, man injured in armed attack; Premier Brantley calls for end to gun violence

Joelle Huggins, 36, was shot and killed on Friday night as she sat outside the Hamilton family home she resided at with her brother, Julian Huggins, 37, who was also shot and seriously injured.

According to the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), the siblings were both sitting in a vehicle in front of their home when sometime between 10:30pm and 11pm two armed assailants attacked them. 

Joelle was shot several times about her body and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Julian, who survived, was shot in the leg and abdomen. He was transported to the Alexandra Hospital where he was treated and is now warded in stable condition. 

Police confirmed that after the grizzly scene was processed, they were able to collect useful evidence. 

They gave no hint about what may have motivated the attack, or who the target may have been.

An appeal has been made for anyone with information about the country’s 14th homicide to contact any police station or call 707 to make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers.

Meanwhile, Nevis Premier Mark Brantley has issued a statement condemning the attack and calling for an end to violent crimes. 

He also bemoaned the loss of Joelle, whom he had known personally.

“I’ve known Joelle for many years and know her to be a good citizen, someone who worked hard to raise her young son. The tragedy of this situation is that a young life has been lost,” said Brantley.

The premier said he had been in contact with the RSCNPF high command on Nevis concerning this latest incident and confirmed that the Nevis Island Administration has placed its full support behind their crime fighting efforts. 

He also expressed concern that Hamilton appears have become a hotspot for crime on Nevis. 

“I am once again calling on the people of Nevis to hold hands together, to bind ourselves together to prevent this scourge of violence that appears to reside in the hearts of many of our young people,” said Premier Brantley. 

“I call especially on the residents of that beautiful community of Hamilton. This year, virtually all of the violent activity we have seen focused in that community and I call on residents there to cooperate with our police fully to eradicate the scourge of criminality from their midst and from our island of Nevis.

Just weeks ago, the government which is led by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew made sweeping changes to the Firearms Act which saw an increase in the penalties for gun related crimes to a maximum of 40 years incarceration and fines of up to EC$500,000.00.

A 15 day, no questions asked amnesty was also announced during which illegal gun and ammunition could be turned in to any police station or attorney without threat of prosecution. 

The amnesty ends today, 25th May, 2024.


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