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Toddler implicated in mom's murder found with powder burn to the chest

Published:Thursday | April 16, 2015 | 12:00 AMGlenroy Sinclair

Preliminary investigations, yesterday, revealed that the toddler implicated in the mysterious shooting death of his mother had powder burns to the chest, which may have resulted from the single bullet, fired from the Glock 17 pistol he allegedly used. However, at least one retired ballistic expert, speaking on technical terms, is suggesting that an infant would have to be strong to shoot a firearm of that calibre.

"The Glock is usually a safe weapon. [However], for me to comment specifically, I would have to physically examine the weapon to see if the safety features are working. But for an infant to get off a round, he would have to hold the gun with both hands, using the forefinger and thumb to hold the stock, which needs power to pull the trigger," said Daniel Wray, a retired assistant commissioner of police (ACP), who worked at the Forensic Laboratory for 39 years.


Could go off accidentally


However, he stressed that if the gun was under a pillow and the toddler pulled it out, then pressure could have been applied and the gun would go off accidentally.

"But again, under such circumstances, one would to have to physically examine the gun, before making any pronouncement," argues Wray.

As senior investigators proceed to examine the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident of last weekend in James Hill, Clarendon, a member of the investigating team disclosed yesterday that the clothes that the toddler had on at the time of the shooting, have since been sent to the forensic laboratory.

"He went to the doctor on Monday and powder burns were discovered on the chest. Prior to that, his hands were swabbed, likewise that of the father, who is a police constable, also the deceased. The clothing that they were attired in, also at the time, was sent to the laboratory," the officer said.

The police are investigating the incident, under the watchful eyes of the Independent Commission of Investigations.

The Gleaner understands that at least seven statements have since been collected, with more to come. Allegations are that the shooting occurred Saturday afternoon. Rhea Ricketts, 28, was shot once between the eyes, by a bullet fired from the Glock 17. It is alleged that the weapon was fired by her three-year-old son.

The Gleaner further understands that the preliminary investigations are also suggesting the police constable may have been negligent in properly securing the firearm.


Overwhelming support


Meanwhile, overwhelming support continues to pour in for the family of Rhea Ricketts. When The Gleaner visited the Ricketts home in Nairne Castle in James Hill, Clarendon, where the unfortunate, incident took place, her mother Delsie Ricketts, was sitting on her veranda surrounded by church sisters. Mrs Ricketts said. "The support is very good, excellent. We are getting support from neighbours, church family, relatives and friends. However, I'm just trying to cope under the circumstances; I'm doing my best."

She said members of the JCF Chaplaincy Unit had been visiting and the support from them was helping.

She said the children were doing well, so far, but the smaller of the two had grown fussy since the incident. "He keeps calling 'Mommy, Mommy', but we are trying our best with him. We are trying our very best," said Ricketts.

She said she planned to support the children in the best way possible and would cherish the policeman whose gun features in the incident, as he was always a part of the family. "Rhea is gone, but he will always be a part of our family and we will love and cherish him just like we love those two kids.

- Shanique Samuels also contributed to this story