THREE loud explosions followed by the screams of a frantic mother rocked East Cave Drive in Hellshire, Portmore, St Catherine, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, alerting residents to a tragic incident in which 15-year-old Raheem Shaw was shot by his father who mistook him for an intruder.
Police reported that around 3:15 am the father and the child's mother were sleeping when they heard a grille at the front of the premises being opened. The father, who is a holder of a licensed firearm, proceeded to the front door of the house where it sounded as if someone was attempting to gain entry. He discharged three rounds from his 9mm pistol through a glass in the door, which hit the fifth-form Wolmer's Boys' School student. He was taken to the Spanish Town Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"When I heard the three shots I jumped up and looked out. We thought the sounds came from a criminal's weapon. Shortly after, I heard the mother bawl out and said, 'Weh you a do out yah dem time yah,' " a female resident recalled.
She recollected seeing the child's father appear to snap out of a daze minutes after she heard the explosions. The resident said Shaw's father then slung his son over his shoulder and placed him in his motor car and sped off.
"We saw him throw his son over his shoulder, took him in the car, and sped away. Mi feel it for him and the mother. We always admire both father and son when I see them washing the vehicle together. Every morning we pass them and say, 'Good morning', and they would say, 'Good morning'. When the father came back to the house after bringing the boy to hospital, him bawl, bawl, bawl. A family member gave him tea and he could not drink it."
Another female resident held her head down in grief. She expressed to the Jamaica Observer that the situation was too sad for her to process and shared that Raheem was like a son to her after her biological son relocated overseas. What was puzzling to her and the other residents was the reason Raheem was outside by himself at that time of morning.
"It was heartbreaking when I saw the father with blood on his shirt. He was in disbelief that he shot his own son. It was a sad situation, very sad, especially knowing the type of child that he was. He was very disciplined and he wasn't a rebellious child. Weh Raheem a come from dem hours deh? The wife said she was in bed and nudged her husband and he went out there. As far as she was concerned, Raheem was supposed to be in bed. Normally you hear about these things and read about it but when it hits home, it is devastating. Raheem wasn't a child who was involved in friend and company. He was a good boy."
The incident was the hot topic at shops and other spots in the community when the Observer visited on Wednesday. A group of about five men that gathered under a tree declared that they are fathers and said they felt the tragedy to the core.
One of them said, "A it wi deh yah a talk bout and a seh jah know, we feel it really bad. Wi know the parents and wi know the little boy. It is such a tragic accident. What a tragic accident."
Raheem's father has retained King's Counsel Peter Champagnie as his attorney. The Observer was just in time to see the distraught father in the presence of Champagnie at his home on Wednesday. The father appeared to struggle when opening the front door through which his son was shot.
Champagnie described the incident as traumatic and unfortunate.
"I can confirm that I have been retained to represent the father of the deceased. The investigations are at a delicate stage as you can appreciate. In a situation like this it is most traumatic for all concerned. What I would ask is that the privacy of the family is respected at this time and to allow the investigation to take its course. It is a most unfortunate situation."