T'morah McCallum was scheduled to complete her end-of-term exams at St Aloysius Primary School yesterday morning, but a bullet robbed her of that chance.
The six-year-old was in a tenement yard on Text Lane in Central Kingston Monday about 4:00 pm when a round was discharged from a gun, allegedly being repaired by a 55-year-old man who police believe to be a gunsmith.
The bullet hit T'morah, who had been playing with the man's granddaughter.
The six-year-old screamed, ran out to the street and collapsed.
Her mother, 31-year-old Candice Robinson, rushed her to Kingston Public Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Yesterday, some of her relatives gathered in silence at the blood-stained spot in the street where the child fell.
The mother was too distraught to comment on the tragedy, relatives told the Jamaica Observer.
Those who managed to speak, said they were alerted by an explosion, followed by a loud scream which caused them to check what had happened.
“Mi come out the road yesterday 'cause mi hear the shot, and all inna my mind a somewhere else the shot fire. And then mi hear the person scream out,” one of T'morah's cousins, 18-year-old Kehonia Forbes, told the Observer.
“When mi reach right at her mother shop mi see she come drop inna the road in front a mi and her mother. To the way how everything happen fast, mi just stand up and a look pon mi cousin a bleed out,” Forbes said.
“She came from school Monday and I was inside having a shower when I heard the door open and I said, 'Who is that?' and she said, 'A me, cousin'. Mi turn to her and say, 'You nuh do test today?' and she say 'Yes, mi mash it up'. Mi ask her fi the results, but she say any time teacher give her the results, a me first she a go show,” Forbes shared.
Another cousin, who declined to be named, said she, too, saw when T'morah fell.
“When mi go look, a she mi see run come drop pon the ground. It was tragic. She get the shot in her side. The doctors say them couldn't do nothing because the bullet mash up her inside,” the cousin said.
A third cousin, who told the Observer that T'morah would have celebrated her birthday on December 27, said that Christmas will be tough for the family, as they have already lost two relatives this year.
“Wi bury her aunt in January, bury mi grandmother in August, and now she. It sad. She just come in from school, doing her exams, she should finish the last set this morning [Tuesday],” she said.
T'morah's grandmother, who requested anonymity, briefly described her granddaughter: “She was everything good — bright, polite.”
A resident agreed and described T'morah as a jovial and quiet girl who enjoyed dancing and listening to music.
“She just start primary school. She's the top student of the month. She just left from school to her mother shop and to her house,” the resident said.
Initial reports had said that the suspect in the shooting had fled the community. However, the Observer learnt yesterday that he actually hid in a neighbour's house in the same tenement yard.
But, about 9:00 pm the residents, angered by the child's death, accosted the suspect and beat him. He is currently hospitalised under police guard.
“Him live in there; a person weh did deh there see him and seh him nuh gone, him in there. Wi just go in deh fi him. Wi never did a think straight because wi did a grieve,” one resident said.
“When wi find him, mi did just say anything happen yaa man. We did angry,” said another.
The man in whose house the accused sought refuge said he doesn't know him very well because he usually leaves early in the mornings and returns late at nights.
“I really don't know much about him. I just live here. I left here from Friday and when I came last night one lady said 'Nuh go dung deh'. So mi say to the lady, 'A wah?' and she say the man inna mi yard kill one likkle baby. The police did block off the area. So this morning [yesterday] when mi come, mi room pull up,” he told the Observer.
“Him bruck mi place and come in. Him use one crowbar and mash up the lock, and him come in and hide. The residents realised he was in here and dem come in fi him. Bwoy, the likkle baby… she is a nice little girl,” the man said.
At the scene there were work tools and scraps of paper with colourful drawings that appeared to have been done by children.
Yesterday, the police force's information arm, the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), said the Kingston Central police are investigating the child's death.
The CCU also urged people to refrain from harbouring individuals who are involved in criminal activities.