The murder tally in St Ann continues to climb following the shooting deaths of two men in Ocho Rios by unknown assailants on Wednesday evening.

Reports reaching The Gleaner are that the shooting occurred sometime after 3:00 p.m. near the Main Street entrance to the Ocho Rios Market.

A man identified by his alias, Danny, who operated a cook shop in the market, and an unnamed man said to be from Content Gardens, Ocho Rios were gunned down.

The shooting occurred as persons were busily preparing to leave the town before the 6:00 p.m. start of the nightly COVID curfew.

“Mi hear seh Danny inna him cook shop and hear the gunshot and go peep out and di bwoy dem shoot him to,” a man who said he was close to the scene told The Gleaner.

The double murder has further increased the homicide tally in St Ann to 26 since the start of the year.

Earlier this week, police released statistics that showed that the parish has recorded a sharp increase in murders and shootings since the start of the year.

From January 1 to May 2, St Ann recorded 24 murders, up from 13 over the corresponding period last year, an 85 per cent increase.

Shootings over the periods showed a 100 per cent increase, jumping from nine last year to 18 this year.

The latest case of shooting was reported on Saturday when Earl Kennedy, a 71-year-old farmer of Frank Hall near Cave Valley in St Ann, was shot and injured by unknown assailants.

Wednesday’s double killing would have further incensed the business community, which has had to deal with the impact of the coronavirus and the increase in murders.

St Ann Chamber of Commerce president Vana Taylor told The Gleaner on Tuesday that the startling increase in murders is a cause for concern.

She said the chamber had previously written to Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson regarding additional resources for the St Ann police and that it will be renewing those efforts.