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Mover accused of shooting co-worker on Wellington job site previously convicted of burglary charges

Posted: 1:08 PM, Jul 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-02 22:55:23Z

A Wellington family moving into a new apartment found themselves at the center of a crime scene investigation when one mover allegedly shot another mover right outside their front door Sunday afternoon. 

According to court records, at least three men were hired by “Premier Company” to move the family into the apartment, but on the job site, two of the movers got into a dispute. 

Witnesses told deputies it all started when a mover, who introduced himself as Jay, began to “inexplicably walk in front of the victim, impede his progress and laugh.” A minor argument ensued when the victim told Jay “to leave him alone.”

The two men went their separate ways and continued moving boxes, but the fight was not over. 

Witnesses told investigators, as the movers prepared to leave the job site, Jay came up behind his co-worker with a semi-automatic pistol. Jay allegedly hit the victim twice in the head with the gun, and later shot the victim in the shoulder while the two men wrestled over the gun.

Jay fled the scene, and the victim, Nigel Kelsey, was rushed to the hospital.

Investigators used the suspect’s phone number and witnesses to identify Jay as Jhaval Ward, a convicted felon.

Ward was charged with aggravated battery and felon in possession of a firearm in the moving incident, but records show Ward was previously convicted of being in possession of burglary tools and attempted burglary in 2010. Convicted felons are not allowed to possess firearms. 

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office identified the moving company as Premier Movers and confirmed the company hired hard laborers for the job.

It is not clear if the moving company ran background checks on the men hired for the job. Contact 5 reached out to the company and are waiting on a response from them.

Kelsey is still in the hospital but is expected to survive.

Below are tips from the Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau on preparing for a move, finding a trustworthy moving company, and avoiding scams:

  • Do your research. Look up Business Profiles for moving companies on bbb.org [bbb.org]. The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) also identify movers that have pledged to uphold high standards of trust and to resolve complaints quickly. Many movers that are BBB Accredited Businesses are also AMSA ProMovers or CAM Members. Note the length of time a company has been in business and read reviews from previous customers.
  • Verify the mover's claims, credentials and professional memberships. Scammers and fly-by-night operators won't be able to substantiate a good reputation.
  • Get at least three estimates. Written, in-home estimates help you make an informed decision. Show the mover everything that needs to be moved (don’t forget sheds and garages). Be wary of unusually high or low estimates. If someone says they can give you an estimate over the phone or by email, it’s possible they’re trying to scam you.
  • Get all agreements in writing. Read everything carefully and make sure you have it all in writing. Get copies of everything you sign, especially the most important document, the bill of lading, which is the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. Ask for written documentation of any special terms and conditions, complete costs, payment timelines and warranty information. If it's not written down, it doesn't exist. Never sign any blank forms.
  • Know your rights. Interstate movers are required by law to provide you with certain information that explains the moving process, as well as your rights and responsibilities during and after the move. Ask for proof of licenses, insurance, etc.
  • Protect your possessions. Make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit. Find out what your household insurance will and won't cover during a move.
  • Take your valuables with you. Cash, coins, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.

Some "red flags" to watch for when hiring movers include:

  • Movers who demand cash or a large deposit before the move.
  • Company websites that have no address and no information about a mover's registration or insurance.
  • Movers who claim all items are covered by their insurance.

For more information on federal regulations and information, check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, protectyourmove.gov.

This is a developing story. Follow this web story and Merris Badcock on Twitter for updates.