It was just a walk away. Raldein Burke left his mother at her bar in Time and Patience district near the town of Linstead, St Catherine, to buy soup with his four-year-old son.
While he stood waiting to be served, he heard explosions that echoed above the blaring music from sound systems. He then glanced over to where his mother was sitting and saw people running. He began to make his way back when someone told him that his mother, 52-year-old Sheivonne Sharon Golden, had been shot.
Aghast, Burke started running back to the bar. As he ran, he felt his son fall from his hands. He picked up the boy and continued. When got back to the bar, they both saw Golden on the ground.
"It was traumatic. We saw my mother on the floor. Even now, when I am watching movies and see certain things, it affects me. The baby saw it too and he has been traumatised by it, and I have to try and find an easier way to explain it to him every minute," Burke told the Jamaica Observer last Wednesday.
"My mom went and bought soup and the baby saw her drinking it and wanted some. So mommy tell me to go and get it for him. So we went to get itâ€¦ it was walking distance. We heard shots, but I wasn't thinking it was shots because the music was loud," Burke continued.
Reports are that, on February 11, 2022, two men rode up on a bike and one walked past Golden and entered an establishment to purchase a cigar. On his way out, about 6:00 pm, he bumped into her and when she addressed him, he pulled out a gun and shot her in the head, twice. He ran back to the bike and the driver sped off.
But that wasn't the first time the men visited that day. It is said that the trigger man and the motorcycle driver visited the bar earlier in the day. At that time, Golden, a mother of three, was at another location and her bartender was on duty. The men eventually left.
Burke, who has been left bereft of his "best friend", fled the community out of fear.
"It hasn't been easy. We were very close. I have been around her all of my life. It isn't easy. The feeling I have most of the times has been paranoia, disappointment, and hurt, because it was a murder and it wasn't solved. I moved from the area a few days after it happened. I have been depressed, but thankfully I am around people who try to support me and uplift my spirit," he told the Sunday Observer.
His younger sister had emigrated and wasn't able to attend their mother's funeral. Burke said that has been one of the hardest parts of the last year.
"She is the smallest one. I feel for her because she is the baby among us. Seeing my sister breaking down every minute up until this point and going through it still hurts. But I have to keep strong for my son."
Hyacinth Bowen, Golden's older sister, lives in another parish. She told the Sunday Observer that she remembers the call that left her down in the dumps.
"My nephew called me a minute or so after six o' clock. I was on my veranda sitting down and my phone was inside charging. I heard when the phone rang and I heard when my daughter answered it. She know it is her cousin, so she laughed and said, 'Weh yah call my mother for?' And then I heard her coming with the phone and crying," she recalled.
Bowen said when her daughter handed her the phone, the only words she heard were, "Dem shoot mommy."
"What you said?" Bowen asked, sharply.
"Dem shoot mommy," her nephew repeated, regretfully.
At that point, she hurriedly told him to hang up and called a cousin who works at Linstead Hospital to inquire.
"She told me to hang up, and before I could move the phone from my ears, she called back and said she is dead," she told the Sunday Observer.
Bowen was found late that night along the main road in her community, after she left home without her children knowing. She said she was trying to get a ride to Linstead to see her sister. Her daughters had to use force to control and take her back home.
"For the entire week I was out of my mind. My children had to keep me inside the house and I was mashing up the house and things like that. It was a big shock. Oh my God, she was my ride or die. She was my everything. I'm the eldest of seven children and she is the second-to-last child. We had a relationship that I can't even explain.
"If my head hurt me, she is the first person I would call and tell. We talk about any and everything. If I put up something on Facebook, she would call me and ask me who troubled me. She would say, 'Don't pay nobody no mind because dem nuh know seh your head nuh good'... that type of relationship."
Bowen added that, during the same week her sister was killed, she and her children were actively planning to visit her in Linstead the following week and spend the weekend.
"She is a very good cook when it comes to salt mackerel run down, so the plan was to go to Linstead and have a cookout with her so you know that it shake mi. It rock mi. It mash up mi brain. It mash mi up bad," she said.
The funeral, she told the Sunday Observer, was a difficult period. However, the thundering support made it somewhat more manageable for her.
"That funeral was like Bob Marley funeral. I was out of my mind, but I was in my mind to see it. I could see the support; it was well supported. She was also a party promoter and stuff like that, so you know she would go to round robins, so a lot of people knew her."
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