'No ill will'

Regional

'No ill will'

Pastor forgives gunmen in New Year's Day shooting

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, January 09, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Pastor of Emmanuel Chapel in Mount Salem, St James, Reverend Marc Mullings, whose 15-year-old daughter successfully underwent an emergency surgery to remove a bullet from her skull fired by a 'saluting shooter' ringing in the new year, says he has forgiven the gunman.

“I use the opportunity also to those responsible... know that we harbour no ill will. In our hearts we have forgiven,” the clergyman stressed.

He has, however, appealed for people to cease the dangerous practice of celebrating with gun salutes.

“We would want to use the experience just to echo what the police and the Firearm Licensing Authority have been saying, that this kind of callous disregard for people's safety must stop. They must cease and desist from it, and this situation has demonstrated what these bodies have been trying to prevent. So we echo that as well,” Reverend Mullings urged.

“There are many ways to celebrate, whether new year's or Christmas, and all that; firing a weapon doesn't have to be one of them.”

Mullings reflected that his daughter, who was among a group that amassed in the churchyard, just after watchnight service, observing the fireworks on the waterfront when she suddenly collapsed.

“We had just concluded the watchnight service and one of the young men ran inside and told me my daughter was hurt. So when I immediately ran outside I saw her, she was hysterically writhing in pain and holding her forehead. We noticed she was bleeding so we rushed her to the hospital,” he recalled.

He disclosed that a subsequent CT scan revealed that a bullet was embedded in his daughter's skull. She was later transferred to the Falmouth Public General Hospital where she successfully underwent an emergency surgery to remove the bullet.

The teenager was released from hospital on Monday afternoon, but has missed the opening of school.

The man of the cloth praised God for saving his daughter's life and rebuked unbelievers who questioned where was the divine presence to save the girl from harm.

“We are grateful to God for His grace and His mercy. I understand one person has been asking where was God, so I just want to say to that person that He was right there all the time. If He wasn't, then the story would have been a different one. So we are thankful,” Mullings told the Jamaica Observer West.

He was also thankful for the overwhelming support he received locally and from the Diaspora from a wide cross-section of people.

Among those who rallied around the family was another churchman, Bishop Conrad Pitkins, the custos of St James.

Speaking at the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Annual Devotion at the Police Commissioner's Office a week ago, Pitkins confessed that his faith was tested when he initially received the sad news.

“Believe me, I sat on my bed and I felt tears coming down my eyes…It was my colleague's child, but as a father, I felt it. I said to my wife, I am going to the hospital, I am going to join my colleague's family, I want to give them support. When I got there...I can't share everything because I just started to question God. Yes, I did that yesterday (New Year's Day),” Pitkin disclosed.

“I said what am I going to say to those who are struggling in their faith? What am I going to say when the pastor's daughter could not be saved? and God said you are not different from anybody else. By the time I got to the hospital the bullet was removed, the skull was not fractured.”

Mullings, who heaped praises on the medical team that attended to his daughter, revealed that the incident served to devastate his family which includes his wife and two sons.

“Frightening situation, even myself...sometimes I am trying to rest and the flashbacks come. But we are arranging the necessary counselling so that they can better cope with what has happened,” he revealed.

The police are yet to make an arrest in the shooting.


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