If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that reggae legend Bob Marley stood for justice, social reforms, and peace more than anything else to ensure a much better world for everyone. But alas, this often only backfired on him in the worst ways imaginable, as clearly evidenced in the exploration of his 1976 attempted assassination in Netflix’s ‘ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff?’ So now, if you simply wish to learn more about the same — with a particular focus on this ordeal itself, its aftermath, as well as the individuals involved — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Bob Marley Was Ambused Inside his Own Home
It was around 8:30 pm on December 3, 1976, when seven armed men burst into Bob’s 56 Hope Road home in Kingston, Jamaica, with the sole intention of causing mayhem by shooting him to death. The truth is these assaulters were so heinous they opened fire without really caring about their aim, resulting in his wife Alfarita “Rita” Marley, manager Don Taylor, plus band member Louis Griffith also getting hurt; thankfully, there were no fatalities. Rita was actually shot near the head in her driveway parked car, whereas the others were hit while on break from rehearsal in the musician’s studio — they were practicing for the Smile Jamaica Concert on the 5th.
According to reports, while Bob endured relatively minor chest plus arm wounds and Louis took a single bullet to the chest, Don was severely injured with gunshots across his legs as well as back/torso. It turns out the latter had entered the fateful room mere minutes before the seven men, so he was right between them and the singer-songwriter when they turned upon climbing the stairs, guns ablaze. “What seemed to have happened is Bob turned sideways,” his lawyer Diane Jobson candidly said in the original. “He didn’t give a full target to the gunmen. That’s why the bullet… grazed right across his chest and lodged in his arm.”
This all obviously caused havoc even if no one was fortunately fatally hurt, yet Bob still put on a show with The Wailers at the Smile Jamaica Concert as promised — he took the two days he had to recover and then was on stage again to spread his message. As for the who and why behind his attempted assassination, it was initially reported the motive was probably political since the general elections were announced to take place on December 15, and it allegedly appeared as if he was supporting People’s National Party (PNP) leader/Prime Minister Michael Manley instead of the pro-US Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Edward Seaga.
The truth is Bob supported neither; he was a Rastafarian and believed in harmony, reforms for people, plus spirituality above all else, meaning he didn’t care for politics or was involved in it in any manner. Though as per records, the Jamaica Labour Party was inadvertently involved in this shooting along with the CIA, with Edwad Seaga’s local don Lester “Jim Brown” Coke having masterminded it all. In fact, according to the Netflix documentary, Bob himself recognized this JLP gangster as one of the seven men around two years later, following the One Love Peace Concert in 1978.
Moreover, numerous reports have indicated that the gunmen returned to Tivoli Gardens after the open fire on December 3, a neighborhood extremely loyal to the JLP and the primary base of Jim Brown. Then there’s the fact Bob’s neighbor as well as friend Nancy Burke has since revealed she’d heard The Wailers’ Alvin Patterson scream, “Is Seaga men! Dem come fi kill Bob!,” on the fateful night. Lastly, in Timothy White’s biography of the icon, he claimed he’d received credible information suggesting the CIA itself had contacted the JLP to run the charge on Hope Road, which Jim subsequently led in apparent exchange for cocaine and guns.
After all, this ostensibly enabled Jim to secure an enduring positive position with the JLP while also launching him as an individual criminal lord — it’s how he later established The Summer Posse. However, little did anyone know he’d not only go on to deal in cannabis plus cocaine across Jamaica and the US through his organization but also have a hand in numerous murders in both countries.
How Did Jim Brown Die?
“It took the authorities a long time to realize how murderous this man was because he was under the protection of Edward Seaga from the beginning,” investigative journalist Laurie Gunst said at one point. Nevertheless, alongside several gang members, Jim was finally indicted by the United States Department of Justice in 1990, following which Jamaican officials arrested him with plans for extradition.
Jim was actually detained in the General Penitentiary in Kingston, awaiting extradition to the US on multiple drug trafficking and murder charges, when a fire suddenly broke out in his cell. This was shortly after his eldest son Mark “Jah T” Coke was fatally shot while riding his motorcycle, which combined with a lack of clarity on the source of the fire, led to speculations his burning to death on February 23, 1992, was not an accident. But alas, nothing could be confirmed; all we know is that his adopted son Christopher Coke was subsequently elected as The Shower Posse’s new leader.