Sister wishes brother's murder was a lie
Ex-cop, father of four killed before he could enter home in Seaforth, St Thomas
Andrew Thomas was killed outside his home in Seaforth, St Thomas, on Saturday, January 21 some time after 9:00 pm.

When Sherene received confirmation last Saturday that her younger brother, ex-policeman and father of four, Andrew "Junior", Thomas was shot and killed outside his home, she fell from a bucket and hit her head.

Following the first unsubstantiated, 'hearsay' report, she called Thomas's phone five times, but sadly, to her nerve's end, there was no answer.

"Stop tell lie pon my brother. Mi talk to mi brother today," she recalled telling her cousin who had called saying she heard that Andrew was killed. She dismissed the possibility and then proceeded to call her brother to get the much needed clarification.

"Mi ring him phone two times and didn't get him. Mi ring him phone three times and didn't get him. Mi ring him four, five times and didn't get him."

She then called another cousin who she asked to inquire, because she was too "weak."

"When he called me back, him start bawl. He said he is dead and I drop off my bucket and hit my head. I was frightened and in shock. I cried until I almost died. I was weak. My belly and my head started to hurt me. I never get a news that tear me up like that. All now I can't believe. I just want somebody to tell me that it's a lie," she told the Jamaica Observer.

The ex-cop was killed outside his home in Seaforth, St Thomas on Saturday, January 21 some time after 9:00 pm.

Reports said that Thomas, who had been assigned to the St Andrew North police division, was heading inside his house when, upon reaching his gate, he was pounced upon by unknown assailants and shot multiple times.

He was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital where he was pronounced dead. No motive has been established as yet, and the Seaforth Police are investigating the matter.

Residents told the Sunday Observer that his body remained on the roadway up until after 12:00 am on Sunday, when undertakers arrived at the location.

Thomas's sister Doreen who is living overseas, said she was texting him up until 8:41 pm on Saturday, and provided screenshots of test messages. Doreen said he was telling her about a vehicle he was planning to buy.

As the family struggles to come to grips with reality, Sherene said her relationship with Thomas transcended that of a sibling relationship.

"The relationship that I have with Andrew is tremendous. Me and Andrew and our sister, Doreen have a relationship weh nobody cannot compare. I am always there for him and everything he call me and tell me. Any problem him have, him call me. Sometimes I have dreams, and I would say 'Andrew, mi dream that.' If I tell him carry me to Constant Spring to do any little thing, he will not tell me no. Him respect me. We have a strong relationship like a mother to a son," she told the Sunday Observer.

"Andrew is the best. Andrew like joke. And anytime you're ready to cook or say food, he is ready to put up his money," she added, laughing.

Thomas's niece, Moesha told the Sunday Observer that the last time they spoke was a week before his death.

She said Thomas had called to check up on her and ask how everything was going. Last Saturday, she woke up to the "worst news" she's ever heard in her life from her sister.

"She said mommy just call and said Uncle Junior dead. I burst out in tears instantly and I couldn't stop crying. My spouse had to take me up off the floor. I have never felt so much pain in my life. I literally have a broken heart. I have lost a big part of me that I'll never get back and I can't even begin to explain the hurt that me and my family are feeling, especially my mom," she related.

"He encouraged her even when people tried to bring her down. He was a tower of strength for her and it has really torn her up because up until now she continues to ask, 'Are you sure Junior is dead?' I have not accepted it as yet, and that's what is gonna make it real hard for me. This is something I will never forget," Moesha continued.

She said she maintained a close relationship with her uncle, which she said spilled over from his relationship from her mother.

"Everyone calls me the favourite niece. The closeness came from the fact that his sister, my mom, is who you'd call his twin even though they are two years apart. He's her best friend and mine as well. We had a beautiful relationship. I could speak to him about anything and he'd always give me the best advice.

"He could make me happy by just laughing, because he had the loudest laugh that I still hear echoing in my head. He was always happy for me even for the smallest thing. He would send me random 'I love you' messages and call me out of the blue to check on me or tell me he loves me, and I'd do the same. We spoke regularly, even if it was just to check if we were both okay."

Moesha further described Thomas as the type of person who "would light up the room with his smile."

"He always tried to make peace with his family. There is no one in his family right now that can say he died with malice in his heart for them. He is a no-nonsense person and one thing for sure, he's going to tell you the truth whether you like it or not. He's loving both in his relationship with his wife and relationships with his family members," she said.

She shared one fond memory she holds of her uncle. They had gone to the Jamzone bowling alley, a part of a family outing.

"It was his two sons against me and my sister. When he realised that they were losing, he began playing for them and they beat us in the competition and we laughed so hard about it. It was real fun," she told the Sunday Observer.

Meanwhile, Sherene told the Sunday Observer that Thomas's absence will be hard to get over.

"He is just the life of the party and the party done now because Andrew dead. He always has something to say to make you laugh. He is just jovial. Him love laugh and love make fun at everything. If you say be careful, him answer 'why nobody would want fi kill me? Mi nuh trouble people enuh.' Him just jovial," she said.

The grieving sister remembers last Christmas when she called him and asked if he wasn't going to visit. She recalled saying the words, 'Old boy, you not coming up to the yard come give your mother money and check your big sister?'

She then broke down in tears as she shared his response.

"Him buss out a laugh and seh sis me a come. I told him hurry up because I was waiting on him. He came to the house and my aunt cooked curry shrimp and rice and peas. And he was like, 'A the best curry shrimp this me ever eat inna mi life. And we sit and talk, and I told him to be careful of the people on the road," she told the Sunday Observer.

Sherene added that the remainder of the day was characterised by laugher; the biggest comic relief coming from his plan to trick his mother that he had only carried just $1,000 for her Christmas.

"Me cyaa stop bawl. Me a guh miss my brother. Over all the year, every time we talk on the phone, him end every conversation by saying 'love you.' Every single call," she emphasised.

The family dealt with loss just four months ago and has been left completely emotionally burdened yet again.

"Our grandmother was just buried in September last year. I can't even eat or sleep. Every minute me hear like my brother is calling me. I'm just stressed out. I can't deal with it. Me a try. My aunty cried nonstop because we just saw him. Me just a wait to look on his body and see his face to see that he is dead for real. I want to touch him and see that he is not breathing."

Sherene also said the family hasn't been coping:

"My niece don't even want to talk about him. Why gun and why death have to be so prevalent in Jamaica? Why Jamaica people dem so heartless against one another? You just a take people life and leave their family to feel lost and frustrated. I feel like I am going through depression right now. I am trying my bets to be around people, because I can't cope. If my brother was sick and died, I wouldn't feel so bad. If he met in an accident, I wouldn't feel so bad."

Ex-cop Andrew Thomas had been assigned to the St Andrew North Police Division. He was father to four children.
Romardo Lyons

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