His mother Dawn Reid told reporters yesterday that she holds no malice for the young boy who accidentally killed her son, who was also aged 11.
“We forgive the youth because he is small,” said the grieviing mother of three. “I never expected this would have happened to my child.
But I don’t hate him. I leave everything to God. God will take care of Reuben. He is in a better place.” At the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday, Reid and her common- law husband Phillip Thomas consoled each other as they spoke to reporters.
She recalled the last moments with her son before his life was taken. Reid said that Reuben usually limed with the family of the 11-year-old who shot him. She added that on the morning he lost his life, she was going to get items for Reuben in preparation for the new school term. “I had to get shoes for him for school,” recalled the mother.
“On Thursday, he got up early so I told him get ready and we will go in town. I was supposed to get something for the second one (another son) too, but we didn’t bother again because his father called and said his cousin had fallen down and he wanted some help. So I went to help clean up. It was while I was doing that, I get the news.” At about 11.30 am on Thursday, Reuben and another boy aged 13, went to a garden off Richplain Road which was being tended to by two children - another 11-yearold boy and his six-yearold brother.
The four children found a shotgun in a shed near to the garden. Newsday understands that the shotgun was loaded by one of the boys, and while the 11-year-old boy was holding the shotgun, it went off.
Reuben was shot in the face and died instantly. His 13-year-old counterpart was reportedly grazed by pellets. The dead boy’s father described the condition in which the blast shotgun left his son’s face as “gruesome.” The sight of the child’s disfigured face compounded the shock that his mother had to endure as she and the rest of her family sought to come to terms with Reuben’s death as they gathered outside of the Science Centre yesterday.
“It’s heartbreaking to see my son die like this,” Reid said. “When I was inside (the FSC), the father had to hold me and control me. All of last night, I was crying. I couldn’t sleep.
My 16-year-old son was bawling and my 17-year-old was quarelling, but I told them that it done happen already and everything is in God’s hands.” Reid described her son as a loving child.
“We used to stay up at night and talk a lot,” said the mother. “One night I asked him, ‘what do you want to be?’ He said he wanted to be a welder.” According to the grieving woman, Reuben liked to play football and cricket. She added that he was expected to sit his Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam next year because he was kept back a standard at school.
The woman said she had promised Reuben that they would get extra lessons to help him prepare for next year’s SEA test.Instead of preparing for the new school term the family is now faced with the task of making funeral arrangements. “Right now I am just thinking about getting things in order so that my son could have a proper burial,” said Phillip.”I just have to say, may the good Lord take care of his soul.
I hope all youths take example from the dangers of having a gun and the kind of tragedies it could cause. I wish that the youths could stay away from guns and that the bigger fools stop giving little children guns,” he said.
The Children’s Authority shared similar sentiments as it commented on the incident yesterday. In a media release, the authority appealed to adults to do more for the safety of children. The Authority endorsed the warning by Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Clifton De Coteau, about the significant penalties in the recently proclaimed Children Act 2012 for a person who fails to take reasonable precautions to guard against a child having access to arms and ammunition and suffers injury or death, or causes serious or grievous bodily harm to another person.
According to the Act, a person who has possession of a firearm or ammunition and fails to take necessary precaution to safeguard the firearm or ammunition, and by reason thereof, a child has access to the firearm or ammunition, the owner is likely to either pay a fine of $50,000 or face imprisonment for up to ten years. “It is not just about having firearms in the home,” said Minister De Coteau. “It is more about taking responsibility for the safety of our children.” Police sources told Newsday that homicide detectives have now taken over the case and are investigating the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death. The shotgun which was said to have been obtained by illegal means, was also taken to the Forensic Science Centre for ballistic testing. Police sources yesterday said that the father of the 11-yearold boy who fired the shotgun, cannot be found. It is believed that he owned the illegal weapon and kept it in the shed to protect his garden from pests.